What we learned from Marty Crane and Eddie by Ed Boks

Ed Boks and John Mahoney
John Mahoney and “Eddie” modeled the joy and health benefits pets provide our senior citizens

Many will rightly sing the praises due the remarkable actor, John Mahoney, who died today.  However, I want to take a moment to point out the important public health service Mahoney provided through his character on the popular TV series Frazier.  “Marty Crane” and his loyal dog “Eddie”  beautifully presented the many wonderful benefits pets afford our senior citizens.

According to the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society there are many health benefits for seniors who have a pet or two. In fact, the Journal states there are many benefits for the seniors, the pets and society as a whole. Geriatric researchers found seniors with pets more active than seniors without pets and they score higher in their ability to carry out normal activities of daily living. Many positive effects on physical well-being are identified, including a healthy ability to fend off isolation and loneliness.

The Journal report says that pet ownership has a statistically significant effect on the physical health of older people. Further, the care-taking role involved in pet ownership may provide older people a sense of purpose and responsibility and encourages them to be less apathetic and more active in day-to-day activities. In fact, researchers found that elderly people who lacked strong social support (family and friends) remained relatively emotionally healthy during life-crises compared with non-pet-owners placed in similar situations. The evidence demonstrates that pets provide real health benefits to the elderly.

10 health reasons why pets are great for seniors

1. Pets lower blood pressure: A study of health patients showed that people over 40 who own pets had lower blood pressure than people who did not have pets. Another study showed that talking to pets decreases blood pressure.

2. Fewer trips to the doctor: Seniors who own pets go to the doctor less than those who do not. In a study of 1,000 Medicare patients, even the most highly stressed pet owner in the study had 21 percent fewer physician’s contacts than non-pet owners.

3. Less depression: Studies show that seniors with pets do not become depressed as often as those without pets.

4. Easier to make friends: Seniors with pets meet more people and like to talk about their pets.

5. Seniors become more active: Seniors with pets are generally more active than those without pets.

6. Pets are friends: Most everyone, but especially seniors, will say that pets are their friends.

7. Pets ease loss: Older people who suffer the loss of a spouse and own a pet are less likely to experience deterioration in health following that stressful event.

8. Pets fight loneliness: You are less likely to be lonely with a feline friend around.

9. Taking better care of themselves: Seniors take good care of their pets and better care of themselves when they own a pet.

10. Sense of security: Pets help seniors to feel that someone they trust is always around.

Marty and Eddie provided hundreds of examples of these benefits over nine years on the Frazier show.   If you are a senior citizen wanting to take advantage of all these health benefits please consider adopting one or two senior pets today.

Top Ten Reasons Why Pets are Relinquished in Los Angeles by Ed Boks

In a recent LA Times article a local animal advocate was quoted as stating that the number one reason pets are relinquished to shelters is because the pets are too sick or too old.

While that may be true in other communities, that reason actually ranks number 8 for cats and number 7 for dogs in Los Angeles. The data below is being included in the development of a program called “Safety Net”. Safety Net is being designed with the help of several partner organizations to help keep pets and guardians together during difficult times negating the need for relinquishment.

So, just what are the Top Ten Reasons guardians give for relinquishing their pets in the City of Los Angeles? The rankings differ slightly for cats and dogs. It should also be mentioned that a percentage of pet relinquishers either refuse to give a reason or for some other reason this data was not obtained.

CAT GUARDIANS:

1. GUARDIAN HAS TOO MANY PETS (1,324) LA Animal Services does follow up on many of these relinquishments and many spay/neuter vouchers are distributed and as appropriate citations issued.

2. LANDLORD OR ZONING ISSUES (536)

3. GUARDIAN MOVING CANNOT TAKE CAT (465)

4. GUARDIAN HAS NO TIME FOR THE CAT (294)

5. HUMAN MEMBER OF GUARDIAN FAMILY ALLERGIC TO CAT (252)

6. GUARDIAN TOO ILL TO CARE FOR THE CAT (176)

7. CAT DOES NOT GET ALONG WITH OTHER PET (148)

8. GUARDIAN CANNOT AFFORD MEDICAL COSTS FOR SICK OR INJURED CAT (147)

9. GUARDIAN HOMELESS (138)

10. GUARDIAN DIED (89)

DOG GUARDIANS:

1. GUARDIAN MOVED COULD NOT TAKE DOG (1,021)

2. GUARDIAN HAD NO TIME FOR DOG (768)

3. LANDLORD/ZONING ISSUES (692)

4. GUARDIAN HAD TOO MANY PETS (600) LA Animal Services does follow up on many of these relinquishments and many spay/neuter vouchers are distributed and as appropriate citations issued.

5. GUARDIAN TOO ILL TO CARE FOR DOG (350)

6. GUARDIAN DIED (327)

7. GUARDIAN COULD NOT AFFORD THE MEDICAL COSTS FOR SICK OR INJURED DOG (323)

8. DOG TOO AGGRESSIVE WITH OTHER ANIMALS (304)

9. DOG TOO AGGRESSIVE WITH PEOPLE (290)

10. GUARDIAN HOMELESS (256)

The June 07 and Fiscal Year 06/07 Statistics are posted on the website. I want to thank everyone who helped us achieve these remarkable numbers. An analysis will be posted later this week.

Please remember to contact your California Senator Monday and/or Tuesday to ask him or her to support AB 1634, The California Healthy Pets Act. They need to hear from you now! It’s crunch time! The California Healthy Pets Act is to be heard in the Local Government Committee on July 11th at 8:00am. It must pass out of this Committee to get to the full Senate.

If you live in the district for any of the five Local Government Committee Members, please act immediately, fax and call now:

Members:

Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod (Chair)
916-651-4032 Office, 916-445-0128 Fax
Chino Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Colton, Fontana, Montclair, Ontario, Pomona, Rialto, San Bernardino

Senator Dave Cox (Vice Chair)
916-651-4001 Office, 916-324-2680 Fax
Fair Oaks Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Mono, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Sierra Auburn, Elk Grove, Fair Oaks, Folsom, Galt, Mammoth Lakes, Orangevale, Placerville, Rancho Cordova, Roseville, Sacramento, Shingle Springs, South Lake Tahoe, Susanville, Truckee, Valley Springs

Senator Tom Harman
916-651-4035 Office, 916-445-9263 Fax
Orange Orange, Costa Mesa, Cypress, Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Westminister

Senator Christine Kehoe
916-651-4039 Office, 916-327-2188 Fax
San Diego, Del Mar, Lemon Grove

Senator Michael Machado
916-651-4005 Office, 916-323-2304 Fax
Sacramento, San Joaquin, Solano, Yolo Davis, Fairfield, Manteca, Stockton, Tracy, Vacaville, West Sacramento