Hugs Alot!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020, Corvid-19 Lockdown Day #42

In the last 41 days, I’ve taken a vehicle and left my property about four times. Two to shop for groceries, once hauling a trailer to our local dump, and finally, so Peaches could visit a veterinarian. Okay, maybe we’re all in this together, but we’re sure feeling alone.

Today, I read that the skin’s “need” to touch and be touched scientifically is proven. That tossed my thinking back many years to when I knew a young and talented engineer. He was fascinated with skin’s attraction to skin and illustrated why by pointing his index fingertips near one another in a straight line, but preventing them by a tiny fraction from touching. The fingertips couldn’t be steadied completely against “miniscule dancing”. They seemed wanting completely to draw together. He intended someday to study this phenomenon. I wondered why then, and occasionally have since.

Today, an article in “Neuroscience”, about “skin hunger”, helped clarify that scientist’s focus on his fingertips’ mutual attraction. The “Neuroscience” article cites data from Miami University’s Touch Research Institute about the ways touches affect humans. Under our skin are pressure sensors, which respond to touching by sending messages to the brain, where then a nerve slows our nervous system. Responses to touch are relaxations in blood pressure, heart rate, and brain waves. (I’m including below a link to the article.)

During the past 40-some days of practicing human social distancing, and as it continues, maybe our animals have and will help more than we’ve realized. Of course, they get us outside for walks, but we also touch our pets lots. Some touches are for planned purposes, but most often, they’re thoughtless stroking habits. In any case, our brain pressure sensors respond to these skin contacts by relaxing us.

I’ll quit pushing away my dogs when their pleas for strokes interrupt my involvement with an intense Netflix series. Now, appreciating more our mutual needs for those strokes, I’ll pause Netflix and hug the dogs.

This amplifies the importance of a huge variety of pets. Horse-handling for example demands lots of touching and grooming. My dwarf goats, ditto. As for my hens, they’re always mutually in physical contact of one sort or another and enjoy being near me but don’t need my handling. They greatly need one another.

I’m reminded of the annual Pet Parade where folks show up with healthy lizards, snakes, and all varieties of well-cared-for pets. So, in Day 42, I’m doffing my cap and recognizing more, both why we need touching and in appreciating pets of all sorts.

(https://www.wired.co.uk/article/skin-hunger-coronavirus-human-touch?ncid=newsltushpmgnews)

Dear Friends: It’s been notable how greatly animal adoptions have increased in this period. Diana

One thought on “Hugs Alot!

  1. My semi-feral cat has recently learned to show up rather promptly at 8 pm for a brushing while I watch Time Team reruns on youtube. It’s amazing how punctual she is. She meows if I am delayed from her grooming session. It’s become a fun interaction for both of us; she’s so much more tame than I could have ever imagined. She was originally part of a feral colony that my neighbor & I methodically caught and had ‘fixed’ over one summer. We had to do something to slow down the kittens! Now we’re down to only 5 of the original 12 cats.

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