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Editor's Note: This is a humorous article and in no way purports to offer genuine advice about medical matters
Researchers say that owning a dog can lower your blood pressure. Think what this means. A hug to Rover may soothe your cardiovascular system more than a fistful of beta blockers. And what about stroking Sweet Pea? Send in the endorphins.
Imagine if dogs found their way into the pharmaceutical marketplace. You might browse the PDR (Physicians Drug Reference) and see "canis familiaris" under the generic listing for Prozac. Airlines might suggest that passengers pack their pooches in their carry-on luggage instead of sending them through as baggage.
Your family doctor might tell you to lose ten pounds, but, instead of pulling out his pad and scrawling a prescription for buproprion phosphate or some such chemical fix, he might recommend a Heinz-69 canine. "Pick out a young, hyper one," Doc might say. "Walk him every night for a month, and that extra weight will be history."
Of course you must beware of the side effects: Bassets can make you sleepy, and you've got to watch out for those drooling St. Bernards. Little dogs that yip and squeak, like Chihuahuas and Pekineses, can make you irritable, and large dogs with super-size poop can set your olfactory glands back ten years.
If you're lucky, your doctor might be well-read and knowledgeable. "Try a Miniature Schnauzer," he might say. "They like nothing better than cuddling up next to you in bed."
Still, you might be unsure whether the dog - somewhat of a semi-controlled substance - is a legitimate substitute for medication. A list of the pros and cons should put your mind to rest.
So, that's the story. What's it gonna be? Pills or pups? Can't commit? Then compromise. Use both, but check with your HMO first. And, for your own safety, if there's a deductible, for heaven's sake, don't tell Rover.