Dogs for Life

Dogs for Life

I heard a recent story on my favorite radio news program about scientific discoveries related to  dogs. There were no surprises for me. In fact, I came away from the story thinking that, often, modern science stands poised on the discovery of things that, in our guts, we knew already. (Someday science may even discover God—who knows?)

People with dogs actually improve their health by interacting with dogs. Splash and I know that from our nightly walks. Dogs actually gain from this interaction as well. Splash is wondering about who’s paying these people to come up with this stuff! (Although she never did quite understand the reindeer outfit from last Christmas, either—see photo.)

Petting Splash can actually help me to reduce my blood pressure. I would say only when she is clean, but I get the point, though my doc still recommends the blood-pressure meds. People with dogs actually are more well-adjusted. The jury is still out on that one!

The world of Francis and Franciscans has been naming this all along—not just for dogs and cats (that was for Toni), but for all of creation. The more we are at harmony with the world around us, indeed with all of creation, the healthier we are. A lot of religious folks, from lots of traditions, have been on to this for some time.  God made us to be in harmony with everything God has given to us.

Splash has a Facebook page, by the way, but I won’t waste your time with it. Splash rarely keeps it up to date, actually, since her Facebook sponsors went off to college. The way she sees it, she’s got the one follower she needs—the person she pulls along at  the other end of the leash!


About the Author

John Feister is editor in chief of St. Anthony Messenger magazine. He has a B.A. in American Studies from University of Dayton, and master's degrees in Humanities and in Theology from Xavier University. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Catholic Press Association of the United States and Canada, and was previously an adviser to the Communications Committee of the U.S. Catholic bishops (2000-2006). His latest book, Thank You, Sisters: Stories of Women Religious and How They Enrich Our Lives is available from the Franciscan Media catalog. He has cauthored four books with Richard Rohr (Franciscan Media), and coauthored, with Charlene Smith, the biography of Thea Bowman (Orbis books).