A Different Kind of Blog

news and things sacred and irreverent put together by opinionated people.

…we can bet on Dogs.

Posted by dorian on June 8, 2009

Take Two Collies and Call Me in the Morning

In tense situations, your dog may be a better companion than your spouse.
Man’s best friend may also be his best source of social support. Better, even, than a spouse.

By: Psychology Today Staff

We all know that turning to friends and family can buffer the psychological effects of stress. But the ideal source of social support, according to Karen Allen, may be a pet dog.




Allen and her colleagues at the State University of New York at Buffalo subjected 480 animal enthusiasts to a variety of stressful tasks, either on their own, with their mate present, or with the family pooch in the room. The stress tests, of course, sent blood pressure and heart rates soaring—especially, it turned out, when a participant’s husband or wife was nearby. Although spouses were free to provide any social support they deemed fit, heart rates and blood pressure were higher than when the subjects endured stress alone.

Stress response was lowest, though, when only Fido was present. Typically, a subject’s heart rate was 30 beats per minute slower with canine companionship than with the spousal equivalent.

The reason, Allen believes, is pets are nonevaluative. They may not offer much useful advice, but they don’t criticize mistakes, either. And since stress can be caused or exacerbated by our own actions, a nonjudgmental stance is comforting.

Even cynical folks, who often don’t profit from social support of the human variety, benefited from canine support. Which is why Allen questions the “no pets” policy of many disaster rescue teams. “If these animals are good for you when you’re under stress, how can we expect a person to leave one behind in a hurricane?”



Psychology Today Magazine, Jul/Aug 1996
Last Reviewed 27 Mar 2006
Article ID: 1079


6 Responses to “…we can bet on Dogs.”

  1. dorian9 said

    princess asked me what we can bet on after the triple crown is over. well i was looking at my dogs and thought hey, this is one sure bet. you win no money but the unconditional love is always there. they don’t even pout when they don’t get what they want. they’re always happy to see you. it’s okay if you don’t want to listen to their bad day at the office. they don’t ask for money. let’s make it an ‘appreciate our pets’ week.


  2. princessxxx said

    meanwhile i am sweeping and mopping a floor covered in dog hair.


  3. dorian9 said

    hehe you do have to clean up after them. dogs are notoriously lazy!


  4. princessxxx said

    yes, lazy.
    are these your dogs?
    mack & rocky?
    otto? e_e’s?


  5. dorian9 said

    mack and rocky mine. otto is my best friend’s dog in italy. i would love to have everybody’s pet pictures up in the blog!


  6. princessxxx said

    oh, well, i don’t have pets. my sister, two boxers, Sam & Oscar, 1 cat named Wonton, a sugar glider named stinky woody.
    just lots of hair.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: