Everyone knows that Golden Retrievers are very good dogs. But did you know they might save the lives of other dogs, and perhaps even humans?
The reason is the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, which has carefully charted the lives of over 3,000 purebred Golden Retrievers since 2012. The $32 million study, which is conducted by researchers from Colorado State University and the Morris Animal Foundation, aims to find linkages between lifestyle and cancer, as well as other diseases common to dogs.
The goldens enrolled in the study are carefully monitored by their owners, who report back on what they eat, how they play, how much they sleep, and if the lawns they play in are treated with pesticides, to name a few components. Every year the pups are carefully examined by veterinarians in an exhaustive three-hour exam to monitor their general health and well-being. Every participating pup was entered before the age of two, making the study the first and longest lifestyle longitudinal study of pets.
The goal is to figure out what might cause cancer, a disease that strikes over half of dogs over the age of 10. Is it nature? Is it nuture? Is it a certain ingredient in dog chow? Is it the plastic they chew to relax after a long day of being adorable?
Because dogs respond similarly to humans in cancer treatments, the information gleaned from the survey will also be helpful to doctors studying humans.
No major discoveries have been made yet, but researchers have been able to collect some interesting data. For example, that one in five participants sleep with their owners. One in four eat grass. And a whopping forty percent swim at least once a week. In other words, goldens live the best lives possible.
So yeah, Golden Retrievers are heroes. We knew that already. I mean, would they have golden hair if they were not gods?
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