This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Why Dog People
are Naturally
by Lola Michelin
green spaces in urban areas. An increasing number of mu-
he latest American Pet Products Manu- nicipalities, responding to demand from constituents, are
facturers Association (APPMA) survey developing dog parks. These minimize the need to drive long
on pet ownership trends reports that distances to fi nd open areas to exercise critters, and they
74.8 million canines now enjoy camaraderie add much-needed nature to city settings. Everyone using the
with at least one special two-legged compan- park benefi ts from added opportunities to socialize, exercise
ion. Although studies regularly document the signifi cant and enjoy a natural setting. Everyone in the area reaps the
health benefi ts that dog owners experience from this close rewards of life-giving plants in place of more concrete and
animal/human relationship—including better health, com- asphalt.
panionship, security and emotional release—only recently Dogs may even nudge their two-legged kin toward a
have we understood more about its environmental impact. natural, holistic approach to health and well-being. Canines,
It’s uncertain whether today’s dog guardians are inten- like all animals, instinctively seek wellness and balance.
tionally taking steps to become green consumers or environ- When faced with a health challenge, they usually respond
mental activists. But an increasing number are considering positively to improvements in diet and exercise and to
their family’s environmental impact while purchasing more alternative healing therapies such as massage, acupuncture,
than $40 billion in pet products and services, according to hydrotherapy and chiropractic.
the latest APPMA report. Dog owners, in search of more People who may have been skeptical about these mo-
Earth-friendly versions of everything from organic food and dalities are often willing to consider them to help a beloved
sustainable toys to shampoos, fl ea treatments and biodegrad- furry friend. These more natural approaches to health rely
able waste bags, acknowledge that their loyal, four-legged less upon use of drugs and other synthetic toxins that may
friends frequently inspire other healthy environmental harm the body and, via excretion, the environment. Once
choices, as well. people witness a pet’s improving health as a result of effec-
Rather than driving to run errands, for example, dog tive treatment, they often adopt alternative modalities for
people often take Fido or Fifi on recreational walks to the themselves.
corner store or post offi ce. Women out and about on their It’s a good feeling to know that the animals
own report they are less likely to take their cars on short trips who love us so well can also inspire us, as caretak-
when they can enjoy the security of walking with a dog. ers, to love them, ourselves and our planet well.
Such auto-free errands help reduce America’s carbon
footprint, a key contributor to global warming. Lola Michelin is director of education at the Northwest
Canines and their human companions also are School of Animal Massage. For more information call 877-
prompting the creation of environmentally friendly 836-3703, visit or email
April 2009
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