All you need is Lab

Yesterday, I narrated how I transformed from being a dog-hater to a dog-Lab-er. I love dogs. No day passes when I don’t play with, squeeze, talk to and walk our four Labrador Retrievers: Bolt (8 yrs. old, brown), sisters Butter and Bean (2 yrs. old, yellow and black), and the puppy of Bolt and Butter, which we named Burger (she’ll turn one this Nov.).

Thanks to this no-thanks pandemic Covid-19, one “positive” has been our being able to spend more time with the dogs.

Jourdan Polotan, my BCBP brother, taught us a formula that we practice. Jourdan calls it EDA: Exercise, Discipline and Affection. The man we call the “Cesar Millan of Cebu” because of his ability to let dogs stay calm and follow his orders, Jourdan advised that EDA should be done in sequence. Before showing affection to your dogs, let them exercise and provide discipline first. Remember this acronym: EDA.

Twice daily, we let our dogs exercise. At 5:45 a.m., our househelp take the dogs on a 20-minute uphill/downhill stroll. They also do their “business” (poop) during this time. Late afternoons, it’s my turn to bond with Bolt, Butter, Bean and Burger. Yes, the 4Bs. I bought two leashes from Caminade and each leash has two chain extensions. With each hand pulling a leash with two mini-chains, I’m able to walk all four Labradors by myself.

Exercise is essential for dogs. I read an article last week that Germany will soon enact a “Dogs Act,” a law requiring that dogs be walked twice a day. Exercising with dogs serves a dual purpose: Both you and your pets get to sweat (in my case, with the 4Bs) and you’re able to fulfill another B: bond with them.

During this pandemic, dogs have an added role in our lives. They help us relax and feel better. Dogs possess healing powers. 

In “The Mood-Boosting Power of Pets” (from, the article says: “One of the reasons for these therapeutic effects is that pets fulfill the basic human need for touch.. Stroking, hugging, or otherwise touching a loving animal can rapidly calm and soothe you when you’re stressed or anxious. The companionship of a pet can also ease loneliness, and most dogs are a great stimulus for healthy exercise, which can substantially boost your mood and ease depression.”

In “How Dogs Can Help with Depression,” the author Greer Grenley writes: “Dogs can contribute to your happiness. Studies show that dogs reduce stress, anxiety and depression, ease loneliness, encourage exercise and improve your all-around health. For example, people with dogs have lower blood pressure and are less likely to develop heart disease—just playing with dogs has been shown to elevate oxytocin and dopamine, creating positive feelings and bonding for both the person and their pet.”

Everybody needs some extra love these days. The world’s best anti-depressant, it’s said, has four legs, a wagging tail and comes with unconditional love.

“A dog,” they say, “is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”

Categorized as Exercise
John Pages

By John Pages

I've been a sports columnist since 1994. First, in The Freeman newspaper under "Tennis Is My Game." Then, starting in 2003, with Sun.Star Cebu under the name "Match Point." Happy reading!

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