Readers — A study discussed in yesterday’s SFGate (the San Francisco Chronicle’s website) suggests that kids growing up with dogs may be a little more protected against allergies and asthma, thanks to early exposure to the bacteria the dogs bring in. The bacteria seem to sort of “immunize” the kids. What’s Free-Range about that?
And imperfection. And an old-fashioned childhood. Since time began, kids and dirt have gone together like mud and pie. They tracked dirt in. They tracked it out. It is only our modern day, Purell-soaked society that is keeping kids cleaner than clean — perhaps cleaner than makes sense.
To me, the fetch-home message, then, is not only don’t worry about having a dog or dogs in the home. It’s to embrace the interaction of our children with animals, with the world, with germs, the outdoors, and with strangers of both the bacterial and human kind. They will be the stronger for it. – L.