Letnick: Take care of yourself, by taking care of Fido

At this month's health forum, April 11, we’re focusing on another member of the household—the beloved pet.

My monthly health forums focus on many different facets of good physical and mental health—helping individuals identify areas of improvement and giving them the tools to make positive changes in their lives. But this month we’re focusing on another member of the household—the beloved pet.

Why, you ask? Because research shows that people are happier and healthier with Fido (or Shadow, or Mr. Winkerbeans) in their life. Common household pets like dogs and cats are happy to see us and spend time with us, and seem to know when we’re down and need that extra cuddle. Their sillier habits also bring out the laughs and encourage humour in the family unit.

Some animals also help us lead more active lives. Dogs are often the ones that get us off the couch for that evening walk or weekend hike. Even those that don’t get out much—fish and hamsters, I’m talking to you—provide educational benefits to younger children interacting with a pet for the first time.

I certainly saw these benefits in my own kids, who grew up with a loyal canine companion as part of our family. Nikki passed away a few years ago after 14 good Sheltie years, bringing a lot of joy to our lives and helping the kids learn the importance of taking care of others.

Indeed, it was a childhood interest in animals that got one of our guest speakers his start. Dr. Eliot Kaplan decided to be a veterinarian at the age of nine years old, after rescuing some baby robins from a cat. After graduating from the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine in 1984, Dr. Kaplan practised in the USA before he and his wife Dr. Linda Walsh worked together to grow Jade Bay Veterinary Services in Oyama. They have operated the Tri-Lake Animal Hospital since 1992.

We’ll also be joined by Suzanne Pugh, branch manager of the Kelowna BC SPCA. Suzanne and her team do a great job protecting and enhancing the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in our community. Recently, I was pleased to join branch representatives in breaking ground on a new large animal seizure facility that will temporarily house farm animals rescued from abusive or neglectful situations. This was made possible by the $5 million our government committed to the BC SPCA in Balanced Budget 2015.

Finally, Lindsay Burton rounds out our list of forum speakers. Lindsay is a grad student at UBC Okanagan who is researching the health benefits of owning pets. I encourage you to come and share your stories!

It can be difficult to stay on top of what’s best for our own personal health and well-being, so knowing what’s good for your pet may seem a little confusing. From regular check-ups to vaccinations and diet, there’s lots to learn—so I encourage you to join us to hear more about how to ensure your furry family members live long and happy lives!

The pet health forum is this Saturday, April 11 from 1-3 p.m. at Creekside Theatre in Lake Country.

For more details and to register for this free event, please visit my website http://normletnickmla.bc.ca/community/upcoming-events.

 

Just Posted

Peachland councillor announces bid for mayor

Keith Thom says after four years on council, he feels he’s ready

Defence minister in Kelowna to talk to flood relief soldiers

Canadian Army has 300 soldiers on the Okanagan and Grand Folks areas to help with flood relief

Kelowna’s Fat Cat Children’s Festival gearing up for its 28th year

The popular two-day kid-focused festival will take place in Waterfront Park

World of Wheels spins through Peachland

World of Wheels brings thousands for a day of family fun

Kelowna’s Shadow Ridge Golf Club beats the water

They pitched in and managed to get the upper hand on a soggy situation

VIDEO: Canadian Forces help flood-ravaged Grand Forks residents heal

Sgt. Bradley Lowes says the military is used to dealing with traumatic times

Couple survives being buried in mudslide on B.C. highway

The couple, from Saskatchewan, were en route to Nelson when a tree fell in their path

Kelsey Serwa brings back KSer golf tourney

Tournament at Gallagher’s Canyon Aug. 24 to benefit graduating high school athletes

‘So grateful:’ Injured Bronco hockey player glad he’s alive, works on recovery

Ryan Straschnitzki was badly hurt in the accident: a spinal injury, broken ribs, a broken collar bone, and punctured lung

PHOTOS: Floodwaters rise and fall in Grand Forks

The flood-ravaged Kootenay-Boundary region begins to heal

Martin Mars waterbombers’ firefighting days are done

Wayne Coulson said his company still hopes to find a new home for the vintage aircraft

Cat stuck on telephone pole in the South Okanagan rescued

FortisBC rescued a cat stuck on a telephone pole in Kaleden

NHL playoffs weekly roundup

Vegas Golden Knights have done the impossible and have a chance at hoisting the Stanley Cup

Kelowna sailors stay the course at COSA Regatta

38th Annual Springtime Regatta was held over the May long weekend on Okanagan Lake.

Most Read