Lasting Impressions: I will never get another dog

Lasting Impressions, number two in a series. In all my years working at various health clubs, several thousand people have walked through the doors. Some become members, some not. Some become casual acquaintances, while others become life-long friends. A few make a brief appearance and are gone. One such person, I think about to this day. He came into our health club to look around; he was in his mid-fifties. He gave my dog Stella a rueful look, and after a long pause, he said he would never get another dog. I asked him why. He told me he had had a wonderful dog that died for no explainable reason when the dog was five years old. He said it was such a painful experience that he could not bear to go through it again. Stella was two at the time. The guy’s words haunted me. I thought about what he said with the passing of each of Stella’s birthdays, especially on her fifth birthday. Stella turns 12 in a couple of days. For the first five years New Orleans Personal Trainers was located directly across the street from a vet’s office. Austin Personal Trainers is presently located in a northwest Austin strip mall along with a vet’s office. I have known clients and friends to go into both locations to have their pets put down. Fortunately Stella (red fur) along with her step-sister Bella have so far avoided that fate and still come to work. I am thankful for each day and all the joy the dogs have provided, and occasionally I still think about that guy. I think he made a mistake; he should have got another dog.

The therapeutic effect of the mutual dog gaze

From this Scientific American article, Is the Gaze from Those Big Puppy Eyes the Look of Your Doggie's Love?  come this quote:

 “Many studies find that positive interactions between people and dogs can be beneficial for both species. Increases in β-endorphin (beta-endorphin), oxytocin and dopamine—neurochemicals associated with positive feelings and bonding—have been observed in both dogs and people after enjoyable interactions like petting, play and talking. “

They found that oxytocin increased measurably for both dog and human when they spent time looking into each other’s eyes – a mutual gaze.  Mydogs spend a good part of their day sleeping and another part of their day with their eyes glued to me. I often return the gaze and for me the novelty never wears off.  They are also a relentless force for inducing smiles. Every day, several times a day, they make me and others smile. They make frequent visits to  Austin Personal Training and the  occasional guest appearance at New Orleans Personal Training. Feel free to stop by and be mesmerized by their gaze.