Dog Owners Live Longer, Healthier Lives

A new study of more than 3.4 million people finds that owning a dog is linked to a longer life. The research, published in Scientific Reports, is the latest in a growing body of research suggesting that canine companions may be good for human health—especially for people who live alone.

To study the link between dogs and longevity, researchers at Sweden’s Uppsala University reviewed national registry records of Swedish men and women, ages 40 to 80. They focused on 3.4 million people who had no history of cardiovascular disease in 2001, and followed their health records – as well as whether they registered as a dog owner – for about 12 years. Dog ownership registries are mandatory in Sweden, and every visit to a hospital is recorded in a national database.

Researchers found that dog owners had a lower risk of death due to cardiovascular disease than people who did not report owning a dog, as well as a lower risk of death from other causes. That was true even after adjusting for factors such as smoking, body mass index and socioeconomic status.

The protective effect was especially prominent for people living alone, who have been found to have a higher risk for early death than those who live with other people. People who lived alone with a dog had a 33% reduced risk of death, and an 11% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, than people who lived alone without a dog.

The study – with a sample size hundreds of times larger than any other studies on this topic – was not designed to show a cause-and-effect relationship between dog ownership and reduced risk of death or cardiovascular disease, or to determine why these factors may be related. It’s possible that people who choose to own dogs may simply be more active and in better health to begin with, say the authors.

But it’s also possible – and very likely, says senior author Tove Fall, a veterinarian and associate professor of epidemiology – that taking care of a dog prompts people to stay active and live a healthier lifestyle. “I have met numerous owners that are convinced that their pet has been instrumental for them, often in terms of social support,” says Fall. “As a dog owner, I also notice that the people I meet during walks are often other dog owners, especially in bad weather.”

Another possible explanation, he adds, could be a dog’s effect on its owner’s microbiome. Other studies have suggested that growing up with a dog in the house can decrease allergies and asthma in children, and Fall says that pets may provide immune-boosting benefits for adults as well. Studies have also suggested that dog owners have lower reactivity to stress and faster recovery of blood pressure following stressful events.

The study authors were surprised to find that people who owned dogs that were originally bred for hunting – like terriers, retrievers and scent hounds – were the most protected from heart disease and death. Because these dogs typically need more exercise than other breeds, their owners may be more likely to meet physical activity guidelines, they say.

Fall says the study’s results can be generalized to the entire Swedish population, and likely to other countries with similar living standards and culture regarding dog ownership.

Scientists can’t say that getting a dog will definitely help a person live longer, but Fall believes it’s not a bad idea. “I think that a pet brings a lot of joy and companionship into a house, so if a person has the capacity to take care of it, they certainly should,” she says. “There are numerous studies showing that dog owners get more physical activity, which could help to prolong a healthy life.”


“Smile in the mirror. Do that every morning and you’ll start to see a big difference in your life,” Yoko Ono told us. Lots of other folks have things to say about a smile, too.

“Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love,” Mother Teresa.

“Nothing you wear is more important than your smile,” Connie Stevens.

“Lighten up. Just enjoy life, smile more, laugh more, and don’t get so worked up about things,” Kenneth Branagh.

DinoVanAt Dino’s, we are giving you something to smile about – free use of our moving truck!

“Smile, it is the key that fits the lock of everybody’s heart,” Anthony J. D’Angelo.

“Your smile will give you a positive countenance that will make people feel comfortable around you,” Les Brown.

Our Dino’s moving truck is available without charge for four hours to our customers moving stuff in or out of our facility. Now that’s worth a smile!

“A smile is happiness you’ll find right under your nose,” Tom Wilson.

“I wake up every morning with a smile on my face, grateful for another day I never thought I’d see,” Dick Cheney.

“A smile is a curve that sets everything straight,” Phyllis Diller.

There’s no deposit needed to use our Dino’s van. The truck comes with a full tank of fuel, all you need do is bring it back full. One more reason to smile.

“The main thing you have to remember on this journey is just be nice to everyone and always smile,” Ed Sheeran.

“If you smile when no one else is around, you really mean it,” Andy Rooney.

“If the world’s a veil of tears, smile till rainbows span it,” Lucy Larson.

“Wrinkles will only go where the smiles have been,” Jimmy Buffett.

There are three catches to using a Dino’s truck – you must be at least 21 years old, have a valid driver’s license and proof of insurance. Trucks, just like smiles, are available at all Dino’s locations.

“Real men laugh at opposition; real men smile when enemies appear,” Marcus Garvey.

“Everyone looks so much better when they smile,” Jimmy Fallon.

“Wear a smile and have friends; wear a scowl and have wrinkles,” George Eliot.

“Show me a smile, and I’ll show you one back,” Vanilla Ice.
Dino’s gives you more reasons to smile – our trucks come with appliance and furniture dollies and moving pads.

“Dare, dream, dance, smile, and sing loudly! And have faith that love is an unstoppable force!” Suzanne Brockman.

“Smile, it instantly lifts the face, and it just lights up the room,” Christie Brinkley.

Why Some Names Are Banned

Sometimes a name simply is not permitted because it is obscene, could lead to bullying, violates cultural norms or just doesn’t seem right to a bureaucrat.

In many cases, you have to wonder what some parents were thinking. Who looks at their child and thinks Lucifer, iMac or Hitler might be the perfect name?

Governments around the world have taken it upon themselves to outlaw certain offensive, confusing or downright ridiculous baby names to save kids everywhere from decades of embarrassment, confusion and bullying.

We found no banned names in Canada. Perhaps the government is more tolerant of unusual names, or perhaps parents in Canada are more sensible than elsewhere.

In the United States, we found a couple examples of odd names, numbers actually, that were disallowed. New Jersey would not allow “50″ because it is a number, not a name, and California would not allow “III”, meaning three or third, because it is confusing. California also requires both a first and last name and only allows names written using the 26 letters of the alphabets – that is, no special characters, numbers or accents.

Offensive names are often banned. “Adolph Hitler,” for example is banned in Germany, Malaysia, Mexico and New Zealand. Germany also bars use of :Osama bin Laden” and Australia takes issue with “Bonghead.” The meaning of that one seems to mean somewone with a water pipe for a noggin.

Names considered obscene are no nos in a lot of places.

“Anal” is banned in New Zealand, “Anus” is banned in Denmark, “Panties,” “Shithead,” and “Virgin” are not allowed in Australia and “Woti” – meaning sexual instercourse – is banned in Malaysia.

Some governments will not allow names referring to the devil, to God or to titles of royalty or leaders.
In Japan, “Akuma” – meaning Devil – is not allowed. “Prince” is a no go in Saudia Arabia as is “Malek” – meaning king – and “Prophet”. “Prime Minister” and “God” are out in the Australian state of Victoria, as are Saint, Jesus, Bishop, Christ and Satan. New Zealand says no to “Lucifer.”

Governments draw the line at product names or brand names in some nations. Australia says no to “iMac” and “Ikea”, France tosses “Nutella” and Mexico’s state of Sonora boots “Facebook.”

Perhaps it would be easier for parents to stick with tried and true names like John, Mary, Joe, Jose, Maria and Ann.

Most Ubiquitous Letter in the English Language

Most Ubiquitous Letter in the English Language

This paragraph is abnormal. It contains an oddity, a linguistic quirk that you will find in no popular book or journal or script in any library. A crucial bit of vocabulary is missing (reading it aloud might help, but probably not). Can you spot our anomaly? And if you do, can you say what it is without spoiling it?

The answer is as plain as the nose on your face, or the cream in your coffee, or the vowels in your alphabet. The above paragraph is missing the most common letter in the English language: the letter E.

Readers Digest tells us that E is everywhere. In an analysis of all 240,000 entries in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, OED editors found that the letter E appears in approximately 11% of all words in the common English vocabulary, about 6,000 more words than the runner-up letter, A. What’s more: E is the most commonly struck letter on your keyboard, and the second most popular key after the space bar. It’s one third of the single most-used word in English – ‘the’ – and appears in the most common English noun (‘time’), the most common verb (‘be’), in ubiquitous pronouns like he, she, me and we, not to mention tens of thousands of words ending in -ed and -es.

There’s a reason that scribes see composing prose without the letter E as one of the ultimate challenges in constrained writing. This hasn’t stopped masochistic wordsmiths from trying. Author Ernest Vincent Wright’s 1939 novel Gadsby, for example, contains some 50,000 words – none of them containing an E – while the 1969 French novel La Disparition has been translated into a dozen different languages, each edition omitting the most common letter in that language. The French and English versions successfully last 300 pages without the letter E; in Spanish, the letter A gets omitted, and in Russian, it’s O.

On the whole, most of the 5 full-time vowels (sometimes Y is a sixth) appear more frequently in English than most consonants, with a few exceptions. The most common consonants, Oxford’s analysis confirms, are R, T, N, S and L. The top ten most common letters in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, and the percentage of words they appear in, are:

1. E – 11.1607%
2. A – 8.4966%
3. R – 7.5809%
4. I – 7.5448%
5. O – 7.1635%
6. T – 6.9509%
7. N – 6.6544%
8. S – 5.7351%
9. L – 5.4893%
10. C – 4.5388%