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Friday, December 8, 2017

Man's Best Friend Proven to Be a Boost to Health and Longevity


Atoning for Wednesday evening's corrupt delay in getting to bed, last evening I was there by 10:37 p.m.

If only I could sleep a solid six or more hours straight! I don't even understand how that can be anybody's norm, for I can't accomplish a six-hour stretch of sleep even on a rare occasion.

I was ready to get up ahead of 6:00 a.m. ─ not because I was restless and alive, but because I was fed up wasting my time seeking further small portions of elusive sleep.

However, I removed my earplugs and confirmed that my eldest stepson Tho was still slopping about in the bathroom adjacent to my bedroom.

So I resolved to wait until he left for work.

When I could still hear him banging about downstairs in the kitchen at 6:15 a.m., I had endured enough discomfort in bed and rose. I had just finished dressing and opened the bedroom door when he turned out the downstairs lights and was out the front door.

For once, I could even hear him locking it. Naturally, I couldn't help but wonder if that was for my benefit because he had realized that I had gotten up, since he normally just leaves the door unlocked when he heads away to work.

I nurtured trying to get out later in the morning to a pharmacy about four blocks away to see if they had any selection at all of indoor Christmas lighting, but that foray was never to materialize.

I thought that I might at least do more than the morning's assigned workload of content supply at the post I am constructing at Latin Impressions, one of my six hosted websites; but I failed to do more than that assignment, either.

The need for sleep was too much to resist ─ I either obeyed, or else I would have to sacrifice having any value to the remainder of my day. And that would likely include not feeling up to tackling a session of pull-ups out in the backyard tool shed.

So well before 11:00 a.m. I was back in bed ─ blindfolded, but without earplugs.

I must have been down for at least an hour. I roused from a dream in which I was actually out intending to locate those same Christmas lights, but nothing else related to my present reality.

There was even lots of snow on the ground, with large pooling of water in the ruts created by traffic in an unfamiliar shopping mall's or plaza's parking lot.

In addition, there seemed to be some involvement with someone whom I believe might have been Rodger Hyatt, a younger maternal cousin of mine I have not laid eyes on or spoken to since the 1980s.

I rose from that nap with considerable forced determination, for the urge was there to continue remaining in bed to seek additional sleep.

I did not rise feeling rested and rejuvenated.

Then early into the noon-hour, my youngest stepson Poté finally got up for the day. He booked the week off from work, so I am going to be rather pleased once that break is done.

While I was downstairs making a midday hot beverage and Poté was showering, I waited for the water to boil, and stared out the living room window into the foggy outdoors.

I have no doubt that the sky is probably blue and the Sun shining, but there has been no trace of such weather yet today due to the obscuring fog.

Since my teen years, I have largely had to engage activity on my own. I had some friends during my teens who were interested in a little of our version of bushwhacking and boyhood things like that.

And then in my 30s through into my 50s, I had Larry Ernest Blue for activities like some bicycling ─ we would generally do it with the goal of achieving some isolation here in Surrey where we could do some drinking outdoors in privacy, enjoying the weather of the day and whatever conversation we might engage with one another.

Often, we would have brought along a radio.

But I have never had a friend who was interested in the great long walks I would sometimes undertake, or the running.

Where those walks were concerned, there were stretches of my life when I had access to a canine companion more than willing to go on those adventures.

The first one such was a neighbouring brown dog back around 1966 / 1967 named Lucky. 

My family ─ then comprised of my mother and my younger brother Mark, as well as me ─ didn't live in the house that we were renting back then for more than a year at most, and probably well under that.

But Lucky made a lifelong impression on me, always available for one of those far-flung hikes I might undertake. He was more like my dog than he was his owners.

Some time after we moved several miles away to another rental, I was to learn that poor Lucky was killed by a car ─ and it was his second strike, too, for he apparently got hit before that, but not with lasting and serious consequences.

I have always wondered if his association with me led him to be more adventurous with traffic than was safe for him.

The next dog that became a big part of my life was my younger brother Mark's German shepherd Daboda ─ he became an eager hiking companion for me in my latter 20s through into my mid-30s.

Unfortunately, my brother and a girlfriend he was sharing ownership of their home with, had a big falling out, and Mark moved out.

Jean loved Daboda, so was only too happy to have him with her ─ Mark often had to work in distant logging and mining camps as a first-aid / timekeeper, so he was unable to have Daboda with him wherever it was that he had moved to. 

And I ended up rooming 10 or 12 miles away at my Aunt Nell Halverson's home ─ much too distant to be able to involve Daboda on any more walks with me.

I didn't drive, so just to walk to see Daboda was ordeal enough, since I would have to then walk back to where I lived. And as a result, those visits were not common at all.

Daboda was getting on, as well.

Then one day Jean was to find him dead where he was chained at his doghouse. Perhaps a heart-attack or stroke.

He had become sadly stiffened with his years; and anytime he did get a good walking, he suffered for it the following day.

But I always remember Daboda with as much love as I do for an immediate family member ─ he did so much for me as a companion when there simply was not anyone else to fill that void. 

Neither Mark nor I have ever had another dog in what must now be better than 30 years since Daboda's death.

The following article definitely makes me reflect ─ it was published on December 1 as an eAlert by HSIonline.com, but now there is no trace of it. The first eAlerts listed at the website for December are no earlier than December 4.

As a result, I will here post the copy that I received December 1st via E-mail:
For former Marine John Musgrave, death came knocking twice.

The first time was when he was wounded so badly in combat during the Vietnam War that the first medics he encountered gave him up for dead. The second time was when, racked by severe depression upon his return home, he held a gun to his head with the intent of pulling the trigger.

That was when he heard his two dogs scratching at the door of his trailer. He put the gun down and let them in, and they bounded over, wagging their tails and licking his face. "I was overwhelmed with a feeling of love," he remembered.

The manner in which Musgrave's dogs kept him from ending it all is but one illustration of how man's best friends can be lifesavers in a moment of crisis.

But, according to a 12-year-long Swedish study, the abilities of our canine companions to help keep us alive and healthy may be far more extensive than we ever realized.

The researchers analyzed over 3.4 million people up to the age of 80 and found that those with dogs were 20 percent less apt to die over the course of the study than those who didn't have any.

They also found that for people who lived alone, owning a dog reduced their chances of dying during that time by 33 percent. And their risk of succumbing to heart disease was even lower.

This study also discovered that dogs can reduce your odds of dying prematurely if you're single by providing constant love and companionship and alleviating feelings of isolation and depression. After all, who can be lonely when there's a furry friend by your side who will stick with you through thick and thin?

Another health benefit in having a pup as a family member comes from the fact that no matter what the weather, dog owners need to take their best friend (or, in my case, best friends!) for regular walks.

While the Swedish study didn't touch on felines, other research has shown similar benefits for cat owners, such as a study done several years ago that found they're 40 percent less likely to die from a heart attack than those who don't share their home with a kitty. Cats also seem to confer protection against suffering a stroke as well.

So... maybe the best answer is to have at least one of each in your house!
Often I will think how wonderful it would be to have Daboda back ─ he would fill such an enormous void in my friendless life today.

The former marine that was mentioned in that article who had almost committed suicide ─ but for the intrusion of his two dogs ─ is apparently featured somewhere in a very recent 10-part documentary titled The Vietnam War.

I have yet to see an episode, but I hope to watch the entire series at some point. That war almost feels like my war, despite me being Canadian. Had I been American, I would have probably been drafted, for I was of age back then ─ I turned 20 in October 1969.

Or I would have done my best to dodge the draft ─ I was extremely backward socially as a young man, and very reclusive and inhibited. I think being drafted would have caused me to kill myself if I found myself rounded up with a bunch of strangers and then had all of my privacy taken away.

I was cripplingly introverted.

But the Vietnam War is a war that further touches me because the U.S. built a base very near to Udon Thani in Thailand; and so many U.S. soldiers flooded Udon Thani over the years that they had much to do with the social development of that city.

My wife Jack's home village is Nong Soong, right next door to the American 7th Radio Research Field Station / Ramasun Station ─ the U.S. Army base there featured only one of eight such arrays (elephant cages) worldwide that the Americans were ever to build.

Jack has said that her father had some manner of involvement with the base ─ maybe as an occasional driver or something. He sometimes would bring home some unusual goodies to eat ─ as well as other things from the West ─ that the family might not otherwise have ever experienced and enjoyed.

He died unexpectedly one night in bed beside his wife when Jack was still a fairly young girl.

But I have become much diverted from my intention to present that report on the dog study.

It seems to me that I already included a link to a related report within the past few days, but at the risk of duplicating the link to it, I shall list it here:

JacksDailydose.com

And here is one other report:

Bloomberg.com

Now I would like to post a scan of a photo ─ the description beneath it is from the Google Plus album where I have the scan filed:

That is my mother Irene Dorosh wearing the glasses and sporting the very curly perm.

The woman she is cosying with is unknown to me, but I suspect that she may have been someone my mother and her husband Alex got to know from various chartered tours they made to the U.S.S.R. and the Ukraine back in the 1970s and 1980s, and maybe even the early half of the 1990s.

If I am correct about that, then this specific photo was probably taken during the decade of the 1980s or else into the 1990s.
This other photo seems to have been taken at that very same location:

I recognize my mother's friend Kay Kris (or however her name was spelled) rearmost and grinning quite broadly, and that is Kay's husband Andy seated in the foreground.

This might mean that these are family members of the Kris's. However, it is also possible that Kay and Andy accompanied my mother and Alex on one or more of those tours abroad.

And now I see that I may well be right ─ I have located this other photo of the unknown woman:


She is someone named Larissa. And since those seem the same chairs as in the first two photos, then the location is the Cosmos Hotel in Moscow.

But can it be the very same Cosmos Hotel? Wikipedia claims that its opening ceremony was on July 18, 1979 ─ would tourists already be rooming there later that same year?

Another photo with Larissa:


And I had better cease my searching ─ this is taking far too much time, and I see that there are other photos to isolate in that huge Google Plus album.

I should have taken the time to edit the album and confine the images all together in one stretch.

I never was to see any sunshine outside today ─ fog prevailed.

Poté obligingly went out in the afternoon ─ someone picked him up, for his car remained here at home. In his lengthy absence, I got my pull-ups out of the way in the backyard tool shed, and then fixed myself a small meal to tide me over until my supper this evening.

I am going to close off now with this old journal entry of mine from 41 years ago when I was 27 years old, and living in a basement housekeeping unit in New Westminster.

I was renting in a private home located on Ninth Street, and not more than two houses up from Third Avenue.

By then I think I had mostly adjusted to the loss of my 20-year-old girlfriend, Melody St. Jean.

She had jilted me for young Chris, a mill co-worker of my brother Mark's.

However, she and her furniture were ensconced in the bachelor suite of my old friend William Alan Gill ─ a number of weeks back when Melody was still supposedly allied with me, she and Bill had conspired to locate accommodation where the three of us could live together.

Bill was living about four or so blocks from my room.

My room was no place for Melody, let alone any of her furniture.

But that was now never going to happen.

In fact, so much had gone on at Bill's apartment in those weeks that he was served an eviction notice. However, it was now a Wednesday in my journal, and I thought that I had written that he was supposed to have been moved by the past weekend.

A duplex unit had been located out in Surrey near to where my younger brother Mark was renting, and Melody and Bill had been pondering moving there. Melody was going to cover the $50-portion of the rental cost that was above what Bill had been paying for his apartment. 

So I don't now know just what was going on with that mess.

I see that on my agenda for that Wednesday was a hike out to visit my mother in the Kennedy Heights area of Surrey where she and her husband Alex lived.

They had been gone for something over two weeks ─ one of their holidays. This was to be the first time I had seen her since their return.

Their home was my main mailing address. The little house no longer exists, but its address was 12106 - 90th Avenue. Even at a fast pace, the walk just to get there was 1½ hours.

Incidentally, that little house was the one my brother Mark and his girlfriend Jean were buying when they had their split-up. Daboda was to die there, and I believe that Jean buried him out in the backyard.

If so, his remains would still be there in the empty lot.

But I expect that one day it will be excavated for development, and his burial place will be desecrated.
WEDNESDAY, December 8, 1976

I guess I may have slept till 7:30 a.m., arising about 15 minutes later.

It was blowing and pouring when I went to launder, but only the wind existed on my return.

It shall be about 9:50 a.m. when I leave for mom's.

*****

Chris' truck was at Bill's.

There was quite a lot of sun during my walk.

I bought 50¢ worth of 2¢ stamps at Scott-town.

Mom wasn't home when I arrived, but a note said she'd be late and to stick around.

Lots of junk mail, plus a 5-ticket pouch for the Western Express December 29 draw which St. Joseph's School credited me with.

About noon Sandy phoned for mom, asking me to tell her to call.

In spite of my intention to diet, I ate heavily.

I penned a messy letter to Jean [Jean Michelle Martin, née Black ─ a U.S. pen-pal I had back then.].

Mom phoned me around 3:00 p.m. telling me to stay and ride into town with her, but I felt it needful to burn off calories (a pre-gorge weight of 186 or 7).

No, I guess she phoned earlier, for Colin next door came at 3:00 p.m. to see her about being a reference for him.

Anyway, mom said she had yet to begin bowling; she saw and yelled to me from her bus stop earlier in the day, but I heard her not.

I left for home at 4:00 p.m., getting fairly wet.

Somebody lost a small stove in the far lane on this side of the bridge.

Judging by the light, Melody must have been home when I passed by Bill's. If I had a lottery win behind me, I would have risked visiting her. 

On Monday Sandy said mom did really well while south, winning over a thousand, but spending most.

I told mom I'd be back tomorrow; I've yet to see her since her departure November 17 or 18.

It's been about a week ─ maybe tomorrow ─ since I've shaved.

I had thought I might type out the sloppy thing I wrote Jean, but I decided to envelope it and mail it the morrow.

I walked today for the first time in the steel-toed boots Jock gave me a few weeks ago; I thought yesterday I'd wear them to Bruce's, but chickened out.

They work well.

Bed at 9:00 p.m.
I laundered that morning at a laundromat that I believe was up on Sixth Avenue very near to the public library. 

I bought the postage stamps at the shopping plaza at 96th Avenue (Townline Road) and Scott Road ─ thus its name, Scott Town ─ out in Surrey.

Sandra (Sandy) Halverson was the wife of my maternal cousin Randy. 

Colin was a neighbour lad, probably in his late teens. I am unsure why he needed to use my mother for a reference ─ maybe he wanted to get his own apartment or something? 

My mother and Alex must have been in Las Vegas and / or Reno.

I guess she wasn't home because she had bused away somewhere to bowl ─ she belonged to one or maybe even two teams. However, she and her friend Kay Kris shared an evening office janitorial contract, so she would have to be going in to New Westminster later that day ─ thus the offer to give me a ride. 

But I felt that I needed the return walk home ─ another 1½ hours of activity.

Normally I had bad experiences anytime I tried to walk much in a pair of steel-toed boots. Eventually the effect of rising up onto the ball of a foot (before moving it from the rear to take a step forward) would start to cause such extreme sensitivity where the steel cap covering the toe of the boot would meet with the area where my toes joined my foot, that it would be impossible to wear the boot for weeks afterward.

Apparently not so with this pair of boots, however.

They had been given to me by cousin Randy's younger brother, Jock (John).

I also mentioned their brother Bruce ─ he and Randy were renting a house together located in the Whalley area. I had walked out there and then home again the day before, but was too leery to risk wearing the boots that day.

Okay, time to proofread this, and then have myself a bath.  

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