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The Foundation Of Youth Has Gone To The Dogs: The Weekly Hot Flash:

I love animals. I mean love, love, love animals. Sometimes more than most people. I have decided to get a dog. I have had cats in the past, and still have my Persian Humphrey, whom I dearly love. But I always wanted a dog. I told my resistant husband that getting a dog is a great way to improve the quality your of life, feel better, and look younger (he went for it!).

And it’s true. Want to lose weight, eat better, improve health certain health conditions?  Get a dog. Here’s how.

You can’t let a pet go without food, so you’ll have to go to the grocery store on a regular basis. Start them out on a good brand of food found at Whole Foods or a similar venue. Then you can shop for healthy foods yourself and your dog at the same store.  

You can’t keep a dog inside your house all the time, (especially if they poop, and they all do) so you’ll be “forced” to take a daily walk, keeping you and your dog in great shape. My trainer, Fabian, says all you need is to walk two miles a day, every day, to begin to see a difference. Of course, along with a good diet, yoga, and weight training. I am doing everything but the walking daily, now my new dog will made sure that I do it.

And, if you take your dog to your local dog park, you’ll be able to meet other dog enthusiasts, or maybe find a new love (for those who are single). I am fairly certain that dog parks have a “pick up” rate higher than any tragically hip nightclub or bar.

Specific health ailments and conditions have been shown to be improved by having a pet. Sitting and stroking a cat lowers blood pressure – yours and the cat’s. I’ve read that even people with poor cholesterol and triglyceride levels show improvement when they have one or more pets.

Being a fashionista, I can’t wait to buy the cute little outfits they make for dogs. I love the furry sweaters, athletic gear (he’ll be a Chicago Cubs fan, whether he likes it or not), as well as raincoats and little rain boots. Also, I love Halloween, so costuming my baby will add an extra dimension to the celebration.

Now, I can also be one of “those obnoxious people” who bring their dogs shopping to Neiman Marcus or Sak’s Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills.     

I will adopt my new dog from a shelter or rescue. Many of the cats and dogs in animal shelters are likely already trained and housebroken, and the cats already know how to use a litter box. Not only will this make the prospect of getting a pet easier on you, you’ll be providing a home to an animal that may otherwise spend months or even years in an animal shelter cage, or worse, may be euthanized.

I went to NKLA Pet Adoption Center, a new no kill shelter operated by Best Friends Animal Society Los Angeles. I was a little worried. The last time I went to a shelter it was for an event with a client, and I saw all the animals in their cages, with those sad, desperate looks on their faces, I lost it. I ran into the bathroom and could not stop crying.  I finally got it together and came out when I heard my client was looking for me. That was almost 20 years ago.

NKLA is different. It’s a friendly, bright, 11,000-square-foot facility, designed with a “Cape Cod” theme. Dogs are kept in “cottages,” cats are kept in “condos.” We walked in, and were greeted by the Adoption Manager and given a tour of the facility. No tears this time.

We went to the “Green Room,” a playroom for owners to get to know their potential pets.  I wanted to get to know Wynn, a snow white Maltese mix with big brown eyes and nose.  They brought him to the playroom; he quickly walked over to me and cuddled up on my lap. It was love at first site!    

He will look so cute in the little Cubbies t-shirt and hat I will buy him when I go to Chicago in a few weeks! Can’t wait to start my daily two mile walks.

NKLA Pet Adoption Center is open daily noon to 8 pm. It is located at 1845 Pontius Avenue, West Los Angeles (just off Santa Monica Boulevard and the 405 Freeway). For more information, call 424.208.8840 or visit nkla.org.

Hot Flash Universe is the go-to source for women over 40 looking for insight into the hottest, most current trends, products, and issues. Topics are approached with candor, intellect, and a healthy dose of humor. We search for the best Santa Monica has to offer for women of any age to be sexy, smart, and savvy.

Barbara Bishop is President of Santa Monica-based BBPR, Inc. For comments or suggestions, email Barbara.bishop@bbprinc.com.

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