A warmhearted article recently published by The New York Times features UW Biology professor Daniel Promislow and the Dog Aging Project, which Promislow co-directs. The article discusses the potentially useful similarities that dogs share with humans in the ways that they both grow and age.
Good methods of comparing dog and human ages are important. Dogs are increasingly seen as good models for human aging because they suffer from it in many of the same ways humans do. As the Dog Aging Project, which is collecting genetic and other information from a vast number of pet dogs, puts it on its website, the goal of the research is “Longer, healthier lives for all dogs … and their humans.”
As an aging human, I can’t fault that approach. In, 2018 the co-director of the project, Daniel. E. L. Promislow at the University of Washington, Seattle, laid out the reasons dogs make a good animal in which to study aging and get results that will help people. In essence, they suffer a lot of similar ailments, such as “obesity, arthritis, hypothyroidism, and diabetes.” That’s not all of course, but when we imagine that an old dog walks funny for the same reasons we do (it hurts), we’re not being anthropomorphic.
Read the full article in The New York Times.