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The pupside: why dogs are the real winners in lockdown

OK, I’ll confess. We got a dog. Cute little Upside lockdown thing, apart from his backside, which is definitely a downside when he doesn’t go outside.

But it did get me thinking: everyone seems happier since he arrived. Is that a thing, the pupside if you will? Are dogs really good for you? Many people seem to think so, and rising prices in the UK recently surely indicate a surge in demand.

Turns out there is plenty of research on this, though not surprisingly it’s nuanced and not totally conclusive. Last summer I heard the US academic Stephen Porges talk about the mammalian need for co-regulation, an animal ability to soothe one another through interaction.