I took a little hiatus from LMAC collage making this spring. I don't create from my head. My collages are totally intuitive. It was better to give that part of my life a little space for a while. But here I am. As always, this collage is totally intuitive.
Yesterday I spent some time with the family dogs. It was an act of kindness, I thought, to put all my business aside and just sit with the dogs for a couple of hours. My daughter was away and the dogs missed her.
Lo and behold, my kindness to the dogs was actually a kindness to myself. They were a tonic.
This is our beagle
This is our shepherd mix
I think if it weren't for the dogs, I wouldn't be writing this blog today. And so it is that in my collage, you see a puppy trying to work its magic.
Do Dogs Have Magic?
It seems to be so, in many cases. According to an article published by the Harvard Medical School, having a dog can 'help calm jagged nerves'. As a matter of fact, petting a dog may lower your blood pressure and heart rate (according to Harvard). This article offers an interesting insight on dogs. In a way, they parallel our own health. If our dog is overweight and sedentary, chances are that is a reflection of our own lifestyle. "People who are overweight and sedentary tend to have dogs that are overweight and sedentary."
The American Kennel Association has its own list of dog ownership benefits (I like to think of it as dog companionship). According to the AKC, dogs can help you live longer. The AKC refers readers to a study published by the American Heart Association. According to that study, which was a meta-analysis of many studies, "Dog ownership is associated with lower risk of death over the long term, which is possibly driven by a reduction in cardiovascular mortality." Quantitatively, there was a 24% reduction in mortality from all causes in people who owned dogs. An impressive number of people were included in the analysis: 3,837,005.
Two More Pictures of the Family Dogs
The shepherd mix
The AKC refers readers to another study carried out by Washington State University. In this study cortisol levels (levels of cortisol indicate levels of stress) in the saliva of students was measured before and after the students took an important academic test. One group had access to a therapy pet, and the other did not. In the group that had access to a pet (cat or dog) cortisol levels were lower.
A host of other benefits from dog association was listed in the AKC article: less cognitive decline and anxiety in those suffering from dementia; an increase in oxytocin (the 'love hormone') from merely staring in your dog's eyes; dogs help in recovery from (or coping with) PTSD.
Do yourself a favor, if you can, get a dog. If you can't, make friends with someone who has a dog and visit often.
My Collage for LMAC #121
I'll start with @shaka's beautiful template picture:
Artists and would-be artists are free to imagine whatever they might in this picture. Amazing works of art come in every week in response to the template. Check out this week's gallery so far.
In order to realize my idea for a collage, I tapped the resources in LMAC's Image Library, LIL. There I found a puppy from @muelli, a dog from @brume7, a mushroom from @redheadpei, and a goat from @ddn688. The bare tree I had contributed to LIL some time ago. All images in LIL are public domain. Anyone may borrow and everyone on Hive may contribute. Rules and procedures outlined here.
I also borrowed an image from Pexels: the man on the stone is credited to Abdel Rahman Abu Baker.
I used Paint, Paint 3D and GIMP to manipulate the images, make the frames for the GIF. I also used a Lunapic filter to add just a little bit of atmosphere to the image. Also, I used the paint brushes in GIMP to customize the look of the grass.
If you would like to make a collage, join in. There are prizes for those who win (15!). I don't compete but have been making collages for about two years now.
The contest and the community are successful first of all because of @shaka, who founded and runs LMAC. Then there is a team that helps to keep the machine running. @mballesteros and @quantumg are invaluable.
Hope you enjoyed my little homage to dogs, and I wish everyone who reads this health and peace.