Dirt, Animals, & Health

Yesterday, or maybe the day before, one of the news stories was about a family with 9 kids who live on a farm. The significance of the story is that these kids don’t get sick. Apparently a study was done to determine how our association with animals affect our ability to avoid various ailments. The results revealed that children who have kittens are 31% less likely to catch certain “things” (I can’t remember if it was a generalization, or specific illnesses), and those who grow up with puppies are better off at 60%+ avoidance.

That’s pretty significant and I’m sure a lot of money was spent to get those results.

Back to the farm kids … they all grew up with a wide variety of animals and during the course of attending to their chores they had to interact with all of them … cows, chickens, pigs, dogs, cats, horses … and they never got sick. Isn’t that amazing?

From this you may conclude that to remain healthy we must be near, and interact with, as many variety of animals as possible. That’s possible for people with the right vocation, but not realistic for the general public. So, we get our kids puppies, kittens, fish, lizards, snakes, rats, and hamsters. A far more simple solution. Pets are fun, and we learn a lot from them.

After seeing this ‘riveting’ news story I looked at Diane, and she looked at me, and we both wondered why a story like this was on the national news. Interesting. All it did for us, mainly me, was reaffirm a long held belief that it’s OK to eat something you’ve dropped on the floor. I’ve done that my entire life and have been blessed with a fairly disease free existence. It’s not the animals, you see, it’s the germs they carry. Kids with pets share their food with Fido and Mittens. They aren’t afraid to eat off the floor.

Our current society is becoming sterile to the point where kids just aren’t allowed to experience a little dirt which, I believe, helps bolster the immune system. Pets help by being friends to their children. Additionally, they carry around a lot of things that help develop their kids immune systems.

When our son, Jeff, was little he was dirty all the time. We always had pets, but he just liked playing in the yard. One of his favorite sayings when he was urged to wash before supper was, “God made dirt, and dirt don’t hurt.”

Kinda makes you go hmmmmmmmm, doesn’t it?