October 11, 2013
Monitoring Old People Through Their Dogs?
No, seriously. Dogs are amazing!
Today’s bit of news is a testament to that statement, as it turns out that a dog could be a very good indication as to the physical and mental health of an older family member.
I know. You don’t like monitoring old people.
That’s perfectly fine with me! But first, consider who’ll be changing YOUR parent’s underwear when they’re too old to take care of themselves.
Now think of how efficient it would be if you could leave it all up to your dog.
All right, so the dog won’t do Grandma’s laundry. That’s also fine, but someone has to be able to put a smile on Grandma’s face when she forgets where she is.
Of course, then science comes in to save the day.
Experts at Newcastle University conducted an open experiment to test the implications of this theory on modern dogs, as well as its correlation between healthy elders and non-healthy elders. To get an accurate enough reading of the dog’s movements, scientists attached a motion sensor built into a collar around the dog’s neck. When the collar was placed on the control subject, researchers were able to view the recorded distance, number of barks, sits, and other actions that the dog performed. Not only that, but the variation in collars opened the doors for other breeds of dogs of different sizes to be included in the experiment.
“In order to set the benchmark we needed to determine which movements correlated to particular behaviors, so in the initial studies, as well as the collars, we also set up cameras to record their behavior,” said Dr. Cas Ladha of Newcastle University’s Culture Lab.
By doing this, the right path to understanding general dog behavior and its relationship to the state of health for elders have been set for future generations of scientists in this field. But a little empathy will tell you that this experiment is mostly beneficial in the quest for bringing dog owners much closer to their dog by offering you another set of eyes and ears to peer into their social circle.
If your young child has a dog, then he/she is more than likely not very good at adhering to the responsibilities of owning a dog. Much of what we’re taught as children is singular, so things like companionship and responsibility are foreign to current as well as future generations of young people. But what about the elderly?
Call me the preacher, but Americans don’t take care of their elderly as often as they ought to.
Loneliness and depression are often unforeseen and very inevitable, especially when you’re getting older. Our bodies will gradually deteriorate over time until we die, so filling that empty capitalist void that we so often are confronted by seems like the right way to go.
On the contrary, having a fluffy companion into your later years will ensure a happy and (considerably) healthy existence.
Feeling lonely yet? Go get a dog!!!
Image Credit: Thinkstock