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Dogs are Your Friends

By: Katelyn Wei

Researchers have found out that hanging out with a dog is good for people’s health which gives us higher levels of happiness hormones.

Nancy Gee, who is a professor of psychiatry in the Centre for Human Animal Interaction at Virginia Commonwealth University, states that people who spend some time with a dog will experience a drop in stress hormone and rise in oxytocin at the same time.

“Dogs really can connect with another human being. And they do it in a very unassuming way,” said Gee.

“We see the same thing in the dogs, so the dogs’ oxytocin also increases when they interact* with a human,” she said.

This is why dogs wag their tails when they play with people.

Prof. Gee and her team discovered that children who had twice-weekly exchanges with dogs were less stressed and more focused, and their thinking and reasoning had improved, during a recent UK study on eight and nine-year-old children.

“We actually saw those effects one month later. And there’s some evidence that (they) may exist six months later,” Prof Gee told the NPR news site in the US.

Dogs encourage us to see the world more like they do, according to Megan Mueller, an associate professor at Tufts University's Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.

"Animals, particularly dogs, live in the present. They never bring up what happened to them earlier in the day or what they are considering for the future; instead, they are constantly absorbing their surroundings with surprise and delight. They are there right now,” said to Associate Professor Mueller.

They essentially yank you away from your phone and into the situation you're in.

There is some evidence, according to Assoc Prof Meuller, that stroking a dog may be crucial to their soothing impact.

In a Canadian study, it was discovered that brief interactions with dogs significantly reduced stress and homesickness in university students, with the impact being greatest for those who actually handled the dogs. She is currently conducting a study that is producing comparable findings.

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