First time on a walk this year with no hat, no coat and no wellies.
"Yes, and the rich, fecund smell of fresh muck on the fields. Which reminds me, I wanted to explain more about doggy health benefits".
I got that... I'm fitter, more clear headed and weigh much less since you came to stay.
"No. Much more fundamental".
OK, hit me with it.
"Well, you know they say that many human ailments can be attributed to the lack of diversity in gut bacteria"?
Who is 'they'?
"You know, those human scientist guys that study human health".
"So, the thing is that modern human life with food additives, toxins in household cleaners, pollution, etc. has caused human gut bacteria to degrade, compromising the thousands of years of symbiosis between humans and gut bacteria. The result is immune system diseases, allergies and other nasties".
"Well, unsurprisingly to me, they have also discovered that humans who live with dogs suffer way less of these illnesses because... they have way more diverse gut bacteria! Ha! What do you think of that"?
Interesting, but what's the connection?
"OK, so, I keep very healthy through continually enhancing and improving my gut bacteria. I snuffle in rotten leaves and stuff in the woods, I chew old sticks, I have the odd lick or nibble of horse poo or cow poo (I do prefer horse to cow) and I pick up the odd bird or squirrel carcass and give it a shake to make sure it's dead. All this keeps my gut bacteria richly diverse".
But how does that benefit me?
"That's easy. You know when we snuggle on the sofa and I give you licks on your ears and lips, or when we share an ice cream lick-by-lick, or when you occasionally deign to give me a lick? Well, that's me sharing my bacteria with you. Et viola, your gut bacteria is improved and you get healthier".
Oh, I see. Yes, I suppose there must be some bacteria sharing... mmm. But I'm not sure a lot of humans are going to buy into that.
"Then they are doomed! Lecture over. I'm off into the garden to see if I can get some new bacteria.. I might dig up an old bone or find some squirrel poo... I'm lead to believe it's very nutty"
I protect you from all of da bad and scary phings. Like mailmans, and squirrels, and slippery floors, and da hallway downstairs dat I doesn't like, and da vacuum, and people who are walking around when we in da car, and fireworks, and lemons and oranges. All dose. Deyyyyy bad.