Extol Celebrating Health

MAR 2017

Extol Sports is a publication dedicated to celebrating, covering and featuring health, fitness and sports in Southern Indiana and Louisville, Kentucky.

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Page 18 of 51

else to talk to, feels isolated, disconnected, abandoned or overlooked by his parents or siblings, generally fearful of the world around him. "I've heard of examples of a child who has had a bad day and then gets relief by coming home and talking to the dog, telling the dog his or her problems," Moran said. "A pet teaches the child to trust, to feel safe in a non-judgmental, unconditional relationship. Talking to a pet helps improve a child's communication skills and his or her mechanism for working out problems." PETS AND NEWBORNS Occasionally, the issue isn't with the child already in the household. Sometimes, it's with the child about to become part of the household. "Many times, I'll find myself in prenatal counseling with couples who are thinking of having a baby," she said. "If they already own a dog, they'll often ask if they should get rid of the pet? Or how much risk there might be of having the pet in the house with the newborn? "I'd never, ever counsel anyone to get rid of an animal. But I will tell them that, perhaps to their surprise, if there's a dog or cat in house in the first year of a baby's life, that baby is much less likely to develop allergies. Quite the opposite (occurs); the baby's immune systems become stronger." New parents worry, of course, about the threat of the dog feeling jealous or shunted aside and taking it out on the baby. Moran recommends a therapy intervention. "When a new baby arrives, the dog has to learn that the baby outranks him," said Moran. "e parents need to be willing to do the necessary disciplining, training and teaching to help the dog cope and understand." NOT FOR EVERYONE Moran said she wouldn't indiscriminately recommend pet ownership to all of her patients. For one thing, not all pet-owner relationships are automatically positive or problem-free. "Both the dog and the owner need training and guidance from a professional, like a trainer or a vet, so that the approach to the pet is a healthy, positive one," said the physician. "For example, you have to be careful about the pet if there's mental illness present in the household. e animal could find the need to defend itself against someone who isn't treating it properly." Who else shouldn't have pets? "Elderly people for whom exertion or falling is a risk or walking is a problem. Anyone whose immune system might be compromised." How about someone with an allergy? Moran was dismissive of that. "Allergies to dogs and cats get a lot of blame, which often irritates me. I believe pets do a lot more good than harm. Consider the trauma to the family to get rid of a long-time, established (furry) family member because someone has a runny nose." PETS BENEFIT, TOO Not surprisingly, Moran walks the talk. She has two dogs and two cats at home, all rescue animals or strays. "ey're the most grateful, the most loving," she insisted. "ey're defensive at first. And then you can see it dawn on them that this is a new, safe home. Animals definitely know when they're in a safe place, especially those who've been abused." Plus, she said, the owner feels so much better about having saved a life. "ere's a different relationship with an animal when you've rescued it. Honestly, I don't understand shelling out thousands of dollars for a breeder dog when you and the animal whose life you've saved can be so much happier." And healthier, too. 17 GREG TAYLOR RealtorĀ® office 502.966.7325 cell 502/599/1700 fax 502/805/0843 web altirealestate.com Call for a free trial workout or 30 minute consultation. Take your performance to the next level with Sorg's Sport and Wellness. www.sorgsportandwellness 502.797.2970 SORG'S SPORT & WELLNESS SORG'S SPORT & WELLNESS Ty Sorg 2017 Sectional and Regional Champion

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