PET PARENTS by berty: Asia Podgórska & Manu

Welcome back pet parents! Today we would like you to meet Asia Podgórska Ph.D., who is neurobiologist and biochemist. She also works as an academic lecturer and educator. She describes her work as a "promoting broadly hype for science". Asia's dog is called Manu, and he is 1.5 year old Akita Inu😊.

 

Read the interview and get to know what does it mean to have a dog from a science perspective!

 

  • berty: Hi Asia, tell us pelase if your life has changed since Manu joined the family? If so, in what area of your life do you feel this change the most?
  • Asia: Everything. Honestly. Manu is my first dog I have in my "adult life". Before that, as a child, I had a dog, but my parents took care of him. Since Manu appeared, I’ve learned more humility, patience, and responsibility. He is also a great motivator for long, afternoon walks after work, even when laziness calls me to the couch, and ‘me’ does not matter that much. Obviously having a dog is also associated with certain limitations (e.g. flying to certain places). We love traveling, that's why we decided to get ourselves an expedition car and adapt it to the constant company of Manu. We often say with Maciek (my husband) that Manu is like a man because he really creates our home with us, he behaves so much like us - he shares enthusiasm, he is sad when we are sad, he can even sense the moment when I start my meditation (then he lays down next to my pillow, always touching the mat with his paws, I love it !!!).

     

  • berty: Do you think owning a dog has an impact on our mental health? If so, why?
  • Asia: Yes! First of all, having a dog, caring for a living creature (pet) increases our empathy, reduces the level of the stress hormone (cortisol) and strengthens the production of oxytocin (a hormone related to, among others, attachment). Anyway, I think that every dog or cat owner will confirm this - cuddling with a pet, stroking, playing with it relaxes us so much, allows us to forget about everyday stressors for a while. I also have the impression that dog owners are often more open, talkative, more friendly to reality and people.

     

  • berty: Tell us why the Akita, what attracted the most about this breed?
  • Asia: The history of the breed (Japanese roots, dogs associated with the Samurai), their intelligence, individuality and at the same time great attachment to humans (primitive breed). The fact that Akita's trust must be earned is associated with great consistency and patience. And also a beautiful face and appearance, those lovely eyes! Recently, I also read somewhere very interesting information that in Japan Akita is a symbol of strength and prosperity. Ceramic Akita figurines are offered to the sick, wishing them a quick recovery, as well as young couples and newborns to bring them happiness.

     

  • berty: Do you have your favorite story with Manu?
  • Asia: Yes, this happened recently. It's not a happy story, but it is very significant to me. We were recently in Iceland with Maciek and unfortunately, we had a car accident. During our entire trip, Manu stayed with our friends in Łódź. Marcin, who was taking care of him, said that at the moment (about the same hour that this unfortunate situation happened to us) Manu went out to the balcony and started screeching / howling, like he was sad. For me, this is an absolute proof of how connected we are to him. I love him immensely and I cannot imagine my life without him.

     

    Thank you!

     

    Let us know in the comments how do you like this episode!🐶

     

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