THE STRAIGHT UP
Best Dog in theWorld Dog (and Cat) Days of Summer
Did you know the dog days of summer (July 3 to Aug. 11) have nothing to do with real dogs? These sweltering weeks get their name because, during this time of year, the sun is in the same part of the sky as Sirius, the “dog star.” I figured that these dog days are a pretty good excuse to share stories about Buster — not that I need an excuse to talk about Buster. First, I want to give a shout out to my patients who are cat people. Cats are wonderful pets, and I have met some very cool cats in my time. Unfortunately, I have a little bit of resentment towards cats because I’m severely allergic to them. It’s hard to love a creature when your throat is always closing up around them. The truth is that I’m actually allergic to dogs too. Fortunately, labradoodles are hypoallergenic. That’s why I picked out Buster. I can cuddle with my doodle all day without my throat closing up. This is just one reason why Buster is literally the most perfect dog in the world. “THIS IS JUST ONE REASON WHY BUSTER IS LITERALLY THE MOST PERFECT DOG IN THE WORLD.”
Buster is on summer vacation right now, but many patients have met him because he’s the office therapy dog. I’ve had people ask me if he’s therapy for the patients or for me. Well, the honest answer is both. It’s great to get some puppy time and pet Buster’s head during a stressful day. A 2001 study published in the journal Hypertension found that people who own pets are able to maintain lower blood pressure during times of mental stress than those who don’t have pets. I know I definitely feel less stressed after a long day when I walk through the door and Buster comes racing down the hall to greet me with his tail wagging like crazy. It’s the best feeling in the world. I’ve often asked my husband why he doesn’t greet me the same way. It’s amazing how good dogs are for our health. In addition to reducing our stress levels, owning a dog can honestly help you live longer! Experts recommend 150 minutes of exercise each week. Taking Buster on walks certainly helps me reach that goal. An article in the NewYork Times reported that people who have dogs walk four times more than people who don’t have dogs. Getting this exercise helps dog owners stay fit and improves their heart health. Plus, we’re outside in the sunshine! There’s no better way to get that good vitamin D and meet your neighbors than by walking your dog.
When I first got Buster, I was so freaked out. I worried about the responsibility and the changes he would bring. Today, my husband and I can’t imagine our lives without Buster. He certainly brought a lot of changes, but he also brought so much joy. Making sure he lives his best doodle life helps me live my best life, too. There’s a wonderful quote I heard once: “Everyone thinks they have the best dog in the world, and everyone is right.”Whenever you’re in the office, feel free to share stories or pictures of your amazing dogs — just be ready to hear some Buster stories in return.
–Dr. Leslie Pitner
Smile big. Smile often. • 803-781-5225www.drpitner.com
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