Week in Companions

by Dominique Pariso & Tristan Rodman

published December 4, 2015

Dogs Good

Almost every week, there is a new Dog Study. These reports, compiled by some of the finest researchers in the world, tell us what good our dogs do. Their findings are backed up by the scientific method, and corroborated by anybody who has spent like fifteen minutes in a room with a golden retriever puppy. Dogs are good and we keep finding it out.

This week, like most weeks, there was a new Dog Study. In it, researchers from Dartmouth and the University of Oklahoma found that having a dog can reduce anxiety in children. In particular, having a pet dog makes a significant difference in feelings of separation anxiety: children with dogs fear being left home alone far less. This makes sense, especially if you get left home alone with a dog. Studies like this often veer towards correlation problems, what might colloquially be termed a chicken/egg scenario. Do less anxious children have pet dogs? Or do pet dogs make children less anxious? “It may be that less anxious children have pet dogs or pet dogs make children less anxious,” the study concludes.

Last week, like most weeks, there was also a new Dog Study. In it, University of Nevada, Las Vegas anthropologist Peter Gray found that women view men with dogs as more attractive mates. In particular, having a pet dog signals capacity for caregiving more than having a pet cat. Studies like this often fall into the trap of confirmation bias, what might be colloquially be termed a no-shit-Sherlock scenario. Do women find men with dogs more attractive because they can take care of something? Or do women find men with dogs more attractive because it’s a rather accepted societal norm that dog ownership is evidence of some kind of caregiving quality? “I think this is one of those things where the intuition has long been out there,” said Gray, “and then it’s like science is catching up with the intuitions.”

Three weeks ago, right before researchers nationwide took an apparent weeklong break from dog-related inquiry, there was yet another new Dog Study. In it, epidemiology researchers from Uppsala University in Sweden found that children who grow up with dogs are less likely to develop asthma. In particular, growing up on a farm is a significant factor when it comes to decreasing asthma risk. Studies like this often fall into the trap of—

I give up. Can’t make fun of the Dog Studies anymore. Dogs are good. Somebody get me a dog.

Woof. –TR


For Sale: Ghost Town Fully Furnished      

One closed bar, an unoccupied house, several trailers, spacious hardwood floors, and a lot of natural light. The bar may not suit your needs but it could definitely double as an office or even a guest room. Sale price now is $250,000, dropped down from the original starting price of $399,000. Just a short 2.5 hour commute from Rapid City. It’s a bit of a fixer-upper, sure, but there’s an opportunity here to really make it your own. 

Swett, South Dakota is on the market. It is “set in the beautiful prairie and near popular pheasant hunting locations” as its listing brags. And as they say in the real estate biz it’s all about location, location, lo-ca-tion. Is it haunted? Probably. But we here at the Indy encourage potential buyers to just think about the possibilities. You could be King Sovereign, Ruler of all 6.16 acres that you survey! Or at the very least, be your own mayor. 

Lance Benson, the previous owner, really loved the place but it’s a bit too spacious for him at this stage in his life. He purchased it in 1998, and then his ex-wife got it in the divorce, but he regained ownership in 2012. But now the bank owns it. A real shame. 

Swett has a lot of rich history as well—it was established in 1931 by a farmer (who, you guessed it, named the town after himself). This was back when the town was large enough to support a post office and grocery store.  

Plus, there’s been some light renovations done already. The bank has cleared out some of the more decrepit mobile homes and erected a new town sign. 

And as for this whole ridiculous ghost business, don’t worry: they are nothing but friendly. 

Interested buyers can contact real estate agent Stacey Montgomery at Keller Williams Realty Black Hills. Serious buyers only, please. –DP