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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

HEALTHY LIVING WITH JANICE - GUEST AUTHOR KAYE GEORGE


Kaye George is a twice-Agatha-nominated novelist and short story writer whose stories have been published separately and in several anthologies. She reviews for Suspense Magazine and blogs on a group blog and a solo one. Learn more about Kaye and her stories at her website.

Kaye has graciously offered either a paperback or ebook of Smoke, her latest release, to one of our readers who posts a comment to the blog this week. -- AP
What Can Your Pet Do for You?

We've all heard stories of dogs and even cats saving families when the house is burning, stories of trained helper dogs such as seeing-eye dogs, even stories of pets predicting epileptic seizures.

But there are lots of other ways a pet can benefit the owner. Web MD lists five ways in this article (http://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/features/health-benefits-of-pets). Pets can be~~

(1) Allergy fighters. Sometimes children grow up less prone to allergies in households with furry pets. That didn't work for us. We had had cats since before we had kids, but our second child turned out to be allergic. We first got rid of our remaining cat. His litter mate had died a month or two before our son started having asthma attacks. That was a sad day. Max, the cat, had a skin condition that required cortisone shots once a month, so we couldn't get anyone to adopt him and had to have him put to sleep. Max had the loudest purr of any cat we've ever had. A year later, our son developed an allergy to Ruffles, Duchess of Frecklefoot, our Golden Retriever. That was like getting rid of one of my kids! We did find a good home for her. A few years later, we got another dog--the kids begged and begged--and our son, who had been taking allergy shots, never was severely allergic to pets again.

(2) Date magnets. Hey, I'm not looking for a date, having been married for mumble-mumble years, but even I talk to people about their pets.

(3) Dogs for the aged. My eighty-year-old mother came to live with us for seven months near the end of her life. Our current Golden, Cory (Corona Golden Sunshine--our kids always named the dogs), was a joy to her. She never liked cats and remarked more than once that they had "terrible eyes". But she was best buddies with Cory. Cory, of course, was best buddies with everyone. The only exceptions were two service people who came to the house on two different occasions. When Cory growled at someone, I left her in the house the whole time that person was there. If Cory told me they were OK, I would sometimes put her in the yard so she wouldn't bother them too much.

There are programs nationwide that sponsor groups taking pets to nursing homes. I think that's an excellent use for pets! A San Francisco SPCA program sponsors people bringing dogs, guinea pigs, rabbits, even cats to see the elderly. Here's a video of a pot belly pig visiting some oldsters--

(4) Good for mind and soul. Being around a friendly animal helps with depression and raises levels of the feel good transmitters serotonin and dopamine.

(5) Good for the heart. Having a pet lengthens the life of those who have had heart attacks and even lowers triglyceride and cholesterol levels.

Since I included a pet pot belly pig in my second Imogene Duckworthy novel, I'll have to see to it that the family doesn’t run into allergies, depression, or heart trouble. So far, Marshmallow hasn't been a date magnet for Immy, but that could happen in the future.

Thanks for joining us today, Kaye! I love the names of both your pets and your protagonist! Readers, if you’d like a chance to win a copy of Smoke, post a comment, and be sure to check back on Sunday to see if you’re the lucky winner. -- AP

19 comments:

DirtyMartini said...

I'll have to remember to bring my dog next time I'm looking for a date...I was really hoping you'd tell me my dog could help me with my writing, but no matter...

Cheers,
Alan.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

There are also programs using special dogs to help children having reading problems. The readers are less anxious with an uncritical, all approving audience. They've started a program locally for 1st graders and the kids love it.

Margaret

Kaye George said...

Alan, watch your dog's carefully as you try out plot ideas on him/her. Up and down means use it. Sideways means it need tweaking. No movement--start over. Hope this helps.

Kaye George said...

Margaret, I've read about those programs. They sound marvelous. Aren't dog wonderful? I read once that the writer's goal was to be the person his dog thought he was.

Yetta said...

I smile at the idea of a pig as a pet. I've stuffed pigs atop my piano.

Kaye George said...

They're very smart, Yetta! And clean, too, if you let them have access to clean water. My dad made a pet of one of the pigs on his farm, growing up. I have a picture of him riding on its back. But Marshmallow is a potbelly, much more suitable for a housepet!

Janie Emaus said...

I'm not sure about a pig as a pet. But I do know that dogs really are the best friends.

Lesley Diehl said...

Hi Kaye, Old writer friend here from your previous publisher. What is so funny are the parallels between your life and mine. My dad too adopted a pig as a pet. He admired them because of their smarts. And then I also have a potbellied pig in one of my books, name of Desdemona. Maybe yours and mine could get together for a play date!

I've always had pets and I thank them for my reasonably healthy life, both mentally and physically.

I read Choke (really cute book) and am looking forward to Smoke.

Kaye George said...

That IS amazing, Lesley! Yes, a play date might be fun. We could co-write a short story. :)

Lesley Diehl said...

A short story together. I like that.

Kathleen Kaska said...

How about exercise companions? You have someone to talk to when you're jogging or walking. My elderly dog used to poop-out before we got home, and I had to carry him, which I didn't mind at all, except that he weighed 37 pounds. I burned a few extra calories!

Kaye George said...

You're right, Kathleen. I walked a LOT more regularly when we had dogs.

Kath said...

Pets, cats for us, have added so much to our lives. Every cat we've had (from the Siamese who climbed the drapes after getting raw liver for dinner to the lady cat who had to live at Auburn University for a week while she had her thyroid irradiated) has taught us something. Mostly to love something that needed our gentle care. And to keep cotton balls and alcohol everywhere for the 'friendly' cat swipes!

pennyt said...

Not only do I have "permanent cats and dogs", but I foster kittens for the local animal shelter, so I'm a long term believer in the benefits that pets add to our lives. I haven't hat a pot bellied pig yet, but the one on the book cover is sure cute. Maybe I'm missing something!! smile..

Kaye George said...

Kath, my sons have had cats like that. Yikes! My niece had one named Nibbles because he bit.

Penny, I'm not sure you should add more--sounds like you're doing a lot! Just remember that pot bellies do get pretty darn big.

Malena said...

My kitty, Rosie, used to sit next to me on the floor while I wrote, but alas, she has passed away. My new cat, Polly, has only just started joining me at the computer, but she sits up high on her perch.
Thanks Kaye, for reminding us how much joy our animals bring to our lives.

Kaye George said...

Malena, I miss my Agamemnon, who used to lie next to me at the computer, too. When he and his brother, James, were younger, they liked to be on TOP of the desk, James curled up in the box lid I kept a few papers in. It's nice to have company at the lonely profession of writing.

Anonymous said...

My two dogs are the inspiration behind my Dog Mom mystery series. They are good judges of character and very protective. I would never be without a dog. They are a writer's best friend.

Chelle
DogMomMystery@aol.com

Kaye George said...

And a late-night walker's best friend.