Happy Valentine’s Day!

There are going to be lots of hearts and flowers circulating today. If you are one of the V-Day faithful, I hope you get a chance to enjoy the festivities. If you don’t  have a romantic involvement right now, cheer up. You can still be healthy and happy without hearts or flowers.

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I have had friends over the years who got really bummed out on Valentine’s Day because they were not in a relationship. They felt ‘left out’ by all the romance and affection around them.

Sophie Tucker famously said, “I have been rich and I have been poor. Rich is better.” As far as being in a relationship on Valentine’s Day, I have had one at times and also been without. While I am lucky enough to have someone special in my life to celebrate with, I think it’s a mistake to get depressed and negative if you do not.

My pooch, Gabi, good for my heart.

My pooch, Gabi, good for my heart.

For the past 10 years I have remained on the sidelines of romantic involvement, but I was lucky to have a dog in my life so, I have not been without companionship besides a circle of friends.

Speaking of hearts and dogs, I was interested to learn that having a dog in your life actually lowers your chances of getting heart disease.

Dr. Karen Becker enumerated a number of positive benefits of owning a dog, including:

• Most people with dogs are more physically active than non-dog owners, because canine companions need walks, exercise and playtime. No measurable increases in physical activity have been reported in owners of other types of pets.
• Generally speaking, people who walk their dogs also weigh less.
• Pet owners receive emotional and social support from their companions. Pets provide encouragement and motivation, and they have a positive effect on stress levels.
• In people with heart disease, owning a pet of any kind can increase survival rates — dog ownership in particular.

I would hasten to add that while having a dog can provide real heart health benefits, that isn’t the reason you should get one. You should be thinking positively towards the animal not yourself.

Dr. Becker says, “I don’t recommend acquiring an animal companion simply to improve your own health. It’s important to be motivated by a desire to provide a long, healthy life for your pet, and to strive always to deepen the bond you share.”

Whether you are in a relationship or have a pet or not, you can enjoy some chocolate anyway.

Just don’t overdo it.

If you would like to read how Gabi came into my life, my first dog in over 50 years, check out Anatomy of an act of kindness.

Tony

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Filed under dogs, heart, heart disease, Valentine's Day

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