Dogs were not very prominent in immigrant Canadian families after the 2nd World War.
And for a good reason, I suppose: They had enough on their plates worrying about providing enough food for the kids without having to worry about feeding another animal in the home (and yes, some of us kids ate like animals; at least, I did).
Plus, the homes I was familiar with were all tenements – crowded, noisy, stacked one on the other – so keeping a yapping dog in one of those places would surely have meant trouble with the neighbours, never mind that walking a dog twice a day in frigid Montreal winters is not something anyone aspires to do.
Anyway, here’s the point: I have multiple allergies and a sometimes troublesome case of asthma, as well as an auto-immune disorder (TMI, I know) and I often think that if perhaps I’d had a pet animal as a kid, I would have less immune trouble as a adult.
At least that’s one conclusion to be drawn from a recent study of over 1100 mother-child pairs that concluded that if a pregnant woman owns a dog, that seems to have a beneficial effect on her soon-to-be-born child’s immune systems well into adolescence.