Why do people who have dogs live happier, longer, and more fulfulling lives? Sociologists and veterinarians have spent years investigating the positive effects that dogs have on people's health and happiness yet their findings are inaccessible to ordinary people, hidden in obscure journals to be shared with other experts.
Now the international bestselling author of the 100 Simple Secrets series has collected the most current and significant data from more than a thousand of the best scientific studies on the profound relationship between humans and our canine companions. These findings have been boiled down to the one hundred essential ways dogs positively impact our lives. Each fact is accompanied by a inspiring true story. If you love your dog, and science tells us that you do, this book will inspire and entertain.
Communicate Better: It sounds odd to say a creature that communicates with barking and body language can have such a profound effect on human communication. But by providing a common point of reference and concern, dogs help us to feel a connection to other humans. That connection makes us feel more comfortable communicating with each other. When meeting a new person, the presence of a dog reduces the time before people feel comfortable while talking with each other by 45 percent.
Live Longer: There is perhaps no better gift that dogs offer us humans than this simple fact. People who care for a dog live longer, healthier lives than those who do not. On average, people who cared for dogs during their lives lived 3 years longer than people who never had a dog.
No Monkey Business: Primates are genetically more similar to humans than any other creature. But try to tell a chimpanzee something and you will be hard pressed to get your message across. Dogs are uniquely attuned to the messages we send. Dogs study humans and have evolved to build social skills that help them to function around us. Dogs are 52 percent more likely to follow human cues such as pointing toward a source of food than are primates.
Around the Block: Good habits are often misunderstood as difficult or unpleasant chores. But there is tremendous value in the simple act of taking a walk. Walking not only burns calories, it also decreases stress. Having a dog means regularly talking walks - it's something you do for your dog but in truth your dog is doing for you. Dog owners walk 79 percent farther in an average week than non-dog owners.
About the Author
Niven is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Florida Atlantic University.