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Tag: older

Dogs better walking companions than humans


Dogs are better walking companions than humans on almost all counts, a new study shows, with the possible exception of conversation (though I generally favor them in that category as well).

Research at the University of Missouri has found that people who walk dogs are more consistent about regular exercise, walk at a brisker (therefore more healthy) pace, and show more improvement in fitness than people who walk with a human companion, according to the New York Times health blog, “Well.”

In a 12-week study of 54 older adults at an assisted living home, 35 people were assigned to a 5-day-a-week walking program — 23 walking with a friend or spouse, 12 walking dogs at a local animal shelter.

The dog walkers showed a big improvement in fitness, while the human walkers began making excuses to skip the workout. Walking speed among the dog walkers increased by 28 percent, compared with just a 4 percent increase among the human walkers.

“The improvement in walking speed means their confidence in their walking ability had increased and their balance had increased. To have a 28 percent improvement in walking speed is mind boggling,” said Rebecca A. Johnson, a nursing professor and director of the Research Center for Human Animal Interaction at the University of Missouri’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Johnson said the dog walkers were far more consistent in sticking with the program than those who were walking with humans: “In the human walking group, they were regularly discouraging each other from walking,” she said. “Missouri is a hot state. We would hear them saying: ‘It’s hot today. I don’t want to walk, do you?’ ”

The dog walkers, on the other hand, were nearly always up for the task:

“When the people came to the animal shelter, they bounced off the bus and said, ‘Where’s my dog?”’  Johnson said. “And the dogs never gave any discouragement from walking.”

The study, not yet published,  is continuing, and Johnson said she suspects differences will show up in other areas, like depression and anxiety.

Already, though, Johnson said, many people in the dog-walking group stopped using canes and walkers. “They would say, ‘Now I’m physically fit enough to take my dog for a walk,”’

BARCS waives adoption fee for dogs and cats

Starting tomorrow (Dc. 15),  Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter (BARCS) will be waiving the adoption fees for dogs and cats seven months or older through the end of the year.

BARCS is also offering gift certificates to people who would like to give the gift of an animal. The certificate allows the recipient to pick the shelter animal of their choice.

Included with all adoptions are spaying and neutering, rabies vaccination, DHLPP vaccination, bordatella, de-wormer, flea preventative, a general examination, a food sample, a month of free veterinary care insurance, and Felv testing for cats and kittens. Baltimore City residents adopting animals will need to purchase a $10 pet license.

BARCS handles more than 11,000 animals each year — more dogs and cats than any shelter in Maryland.

BARCS is open for adoptions Monday through Friday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The shelter will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on December 24 and will be closed on December 25.

Maryland SPCA offers free pets to seniors

People 60 and over can adopt a pet from the Maryland SPCA for free throughout the month of September.

Under the promotion, made possible by Bravo Health, senior citizens will also receive a special giveaway with each free pet.

On Friday, September 18, the Maryland SPCA will be at the Sandtown Winchester Senior Center from 11:00 a.m. to noon and the Waxter Senior Center from 12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. as part of Senior Citizen Pet Adoption Month.

The events will feature adoptable pets and a question and answer session with an SPCA veterinarian. Founded in 1996, Bravo Health provides Medicare beneficiaries access to high quality, cost-effective health care.

BARCS cuts adoption fees for rest of year

Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) is lowering its adoption fees for the rest of December, and will waive it entirely for animals two years old and older.

The move comes amid a surplus of abandoned dogs and cats — many of them dropped off by families facing financial difficulties.

“We’re being inundated with healthy, adoptable animals,” said BARCS executive director Jennifer Mead-Brause told the Baltimore Sun. “We have people driving up in U-Hauls, dropping off their pets. It’s heartbreaking.”

On top of that, the economic downturn has resulted in fewer people showing up to adopt.

For pups and kittens six months and younger, the fee will continue to be the usual $65, which includes spay/neuter, vaccinations, and preventatives. For animals aged 7 months up to 2 years, the fee hs been dropped to $10, and for animals under two, there will be no fee at all.

The reduced fees are in effect from Dec. 13 through Dec. 31.

To see the animals now at BARCS, you can visit BARCS Petfinder page, or visit in person, at 301 Stockholm St. Shelter Hours are Monday to Friday, 12:30 to 6:30 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.