New research shows why you should always pet your dog before leaving the house
via Pixabay

One of the most wonderful things about having a dog is how attached they become to their owners. I work from home and my Jack Russel terrier, Scout, lies next to me on his bed for most of the day. The only time he leaves my office is for a sip of water or to go outside and sun his belly on the porch.

That's why whenever I leave the house and can't take Scout with me, I wonder, "Does he miss me? Is he sad that he's alone?"

Studies show that our dogs miss us the moment we leave the house and that feeling slowly intensifies until we are gone for about four hours and they have a "plateau of melancholy." That's why the longer you're away, the more excited your dog is when you return home.

The moment I pull up in my car Scout begins to howl like a wolf trying to contact someone who's miles away. It's like, "Dude, I'm 30 feet away. Give me a second to grab the groceries out of the trunk."

Researchers from the Universities of Pisa and Perugia, Italy have found that if you give your dog some affection before you leave the house they'll have less anxiety while you're away.

They conducted experiments with 10 dogs between the ages of one and 11 without attachment issues. The group was composed of seven mixed-breed dogs, one Labrador retriever, one Hovawart, and one Chihuahua.

Participants in the study walked their leashed dogs into a fenced area where they were greeted by a researcher who took their dog's heart rate. In the first test, after the owners walked their dogs into the area, they talked with a researcher for one minute then left without giving the dog any special attention.

In the second test, the dog owners petted the dog during their interaction with the researcher.

In both tests, the owners left the fenced area and hid far enough away so that the dog couldn't smell them.

After the owners left, the dogs looked for them for about three minutes on average. After the owners returned, the researchers measured the dogs' levels of the stress hormone cortisol as well as their heart rates.

The researchers found that whether the dogs were petted or not, their cortisol levels were unchanged. But their heart rate showed a marked decrease if the owners petted them before leaving. Researchers later watched videos of the dogs and found that the ones that were petted showed " behaviors indicative of calmness for a longer period while waiting for the owner's return."

Next time I'm ready to leave the house and Scout follows me to the front door after saying, "Sorry bud, you can't go with me on this trip," I'll kneel down and give him a little extra love and attention.

Maybe that way he won't howl like the house is on fire when I pull up in my car after a trip to the grocery store.


1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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Co-sleeping isn't for everyone.

The marital bed is a symbol of the intimacy shared between people who’ve decided to be together 'til death they do part. When couples sleep together it’s an expression of their closeness and how they care for one another when they are most vulnerable.

However, for some couples, the marital bed can be a warzone. Throughout the night couples can endure snoring, sleep apnea, the ongoing battle for sheets or circadian rhythms that never seem to sync. If one person likes to fall asleep with the TV on while the other reads a book, it can be impossible to come to an agreement on a good-night routine.

Last week on TODAY, host Carson Daly reminded viewers that he and his wife Siri, a TODAY Food contributor, had a sleep divorce while she was pregnant with their fourth child.

“I was served my sleep-divorce papers a few years ago,” he explained on TODAY. “It’s the best thing that ever happened to us. We both, admittedly, slept better apart.”

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