An adorable video of a dog walking slowly so its elderly owner can catch up captured hearts worldwide. Just two days after Tudo Interessante posted the video on Facebook on April 10, over 1.7 million people have watched it. In the footage, a very old man is seen hunched over walking slowly on a sidewalk with his cane as his small dog purposefully paces himself so his master can keep up. Despite the fact that the old man is so slow he can barely keep up with the flow of foot-traffic surrounding him, the dog patiently waits for him. At a couple of points, the dog stops walking altogether to give the man time to catch up.
It is not clear where the video was recorded or who the man is. Yet to many experts, the dog’s actions in the video probably isn’t surprising. According to several studies, pets have a number of positive effects on elderly people, making them fitter and healthier. Research from the University of Saint Andrews reveals dog owners over the age of 65 act 10 years younger. “Our results show that dog ownership is associated with an increased level of physical activity in the over-65s,” Dr. Zhiqiang Feng. “On average, older dog owners were 12% more active than their counterparts who did not own a dog.”
They can also strengthen brain health, AgingCare.com reports. “A new pet can stimulate someone to read up on an animal or breed, which can be very mentally stimulating and important at that age,” Dr. Katharine Hillestad, a veterinarian, said. In addition to improving physical health, they also provide great emotional support for the elderly.
“Dogs — and other pets — live very much in the here and now,” Dr. Jay P. Granat, a New Jersey psychotherapist, said. “They don’t worry about tomorrow. And tomorrow can be very scary for an older person. By having an animal with that sense of now, it tends to rub off on people.”
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