Owning a Dog is Healthy for Children, Says New Study You Should Probably Hide From Your Kids

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Becoming a parent changes you. It changes your body. It changes your lifestyle. It changes a lot of the way you view the world. For me, I think the single biggest change parenthood wrought is that it made me stop wanting a dog.

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I love dogs. I am pretty sure I spent every moment of my life that I can remember trying to convince my parents to let me have a dog. I begged. I cried. I wheedled. When I went to college, I did the same to my landlord. I really, really, really wanted a dog. But then last year I had a baby, and the first thing I remember thinking when I got back from the hospital was, “Thank God I never got that dog!” I was overwhelmed with tasks to take care of myself and the baby–forget the house–and if I had to walk and feed a dog on top of that? Nope. I also will never, ever believe anyone who says they will feed and walk the dog. If we get a dog, that will all be on me.

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So, basically I have become my mother. I am now the person who says, “No, we are not getting a dog.” That is an alien position for me to be in, because I absolutely adore dogs. (Also, this next GIF is killing me.)

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And dogs are good for people! Dogs are especially good for children.

A new study says what children’s literature and movies, and alll good-hearted people have long known: Dogs are good. Researchers at the Bassett Medical Facility in New York say having a dog is associated with less stress and anxiety among children. They noticed no difference between BMI, physical activity, or screen time among children with dogs and without, but only 12 percent of children with dogs tested positive for anxiety, versus 21 percent of kids who did not have dogs.

“Interacting with a friendly dog also reduces cortisol levels, most likely through oxytocin release, which lessens physiologic responses to stress,” the researchers said. “These hormonal effects may underlie the observed emotional and behavioral benefits of animal-assisted therapy and pet dogs.”

All of that, of course, is just a fancy way of explaining this GIF:

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 (Via Tumblr)

Dang, I really want a dog now.