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Digital Subscriptions > Healthy Food Guide > January 2019 > WHY A PET can pep up your health

WHY A PET can pep up your health

Along with the joy they add to our lives, pets bring positive health benefits, too – from combating loneliness to lowering blood pressure and even saving lives, says Jo Waters


'Chip’s visits are so much fun'

HEATHER CUPIT, 75, is a freelance sub editor who lives in a small flat without a garden. A year ago, she signed up to a dog-sharing website and now ‘borrows’ an adorable Wire Haired Dachshund named Chip.

I loved having a dog as child, but as an adult I always worked full time and it wasn’t practical. I’m working less now, but I still live in a small flat and am away a lot, and I didn’t want to be tied down.

Last year I heard about the dog sharing website and I decided to find out more. I met a local couple who both work full time so they’re out of the house a lot, and their dog, Chip, needed someone for company.

I can’t tell you how much fun Chip is. When he arrives, he runs up the stairs and snifs around the flat, then burrows into a duvet I’ve put on the floor for him. I talk to him and he pretends to be asleep, but I know he isn’t because he’ll wag his tail. We go out for a 30-minute walk every time he comes over, which gets me out of the house to the park in all weathers. People stop and talk to you when you have a dog, so it’s very sociable, too. I’m sure it’s boosting my health, keeping my blood pressure under control and keeping me it.

Having Chip to visit is just magic. He makes me laugh and he’s such good company. I still wouldn’t have my own dog as it’s too big a commitment, but borrowing a dog is a bit like having a grandchild – you get all the best bits and then you can hand them back. Chip’s owners say he really enjoys being with me and runs to the front door when he hears my name. That’s just so lovely to know.

Membership to for borrowers costs £12.99 a year.

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About Healthy Food Guide

What’s your craving? Beat that sugar, carb or fat addiction and lose weight on our nutrition editor’s smart meal plans. Get into healthy plant-based eating with guest editor Deliciously Ella’s 25-page section of recipes and advice for healthy, tasty and filling meals. And face down winter by snuggling up in the bedroom – the experts explain how sex can boost your health!