(34) From Dog Years to People Years: Life expectancy of humans


Molly, the service dog

Golly, Miss Molly

A blog about a service dog and her veteran with PTSD

(Supporting the veteran and the family caregiver)


 Longevity Depends on Gender

In Molly’s recent blog (32) Can Your Dog Count?, we provided a chart of the life expectancy of dogs. Molly’s life expectancy is shorter than her small-dog friend. William found an article this morning that addresses the life expectancy of humans. Molly and I thought sharing this with our readers would be beneficial.

The article from Fox News entitled, “5 reasons women live longer than men,” by Hallie Levine stated that the average American lives 78 years and 9 ½ months. Her article tells us that the life expectancy of a girl born in 2012 is 81.2 years whereas the life expectancy for boys born in the same year is 76.4. She identified five reasons for this while adding a quote from Dr. Marianne Legato of clinical medicine from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. ‘”Men are biologically and sociologically at a disadvantage from the time they’re conceived to the time they die.”

Females are tougher in the womb. Boys are conceived at a rate of 2.5 compared to girls but by the time of birth, the ration drops to 1 on 1. This means, boys often do not survive in the womb.

  1. Women are less likely to take risks than men. Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death in men while it is only the sixth leading cause for women.
  2. Heart disease kills women about ten years later than men. Men die from it in their 30s and 40s. Heart disease is the number one killer of both genders.
  3. Women develop and maintain stronger networks, which tends to lower their chance of dying by 50 percent over those who have only a few social connections. (I need to add to my Facebook friends, as my current total of five friends puts me at risk.)
  4. Women take better care of themselves health-wise than men.

While these statistics do not address the effects of war and PTSD on the veteran, we know from studies that the stress caused from war tears down the body and reduces longevity.

Good News for Veterans with Service Dogs

 While the National Center for PTSD indicated there is no evidence to suggest that service dogs significantly benefit veterans, two studies mentioned by John Emsinger in his book, Service and Therapy Dogs in American Society (pp. 59-61) showed that the benefit to veterans rates high.

One study compared disabled individuals with service dogs with those not having service dogs. The study showed that those with service dogs reached a higher level of self-esteem, lived with greater independence, enrolled in higher education, needed less support from a caregiver, and possessed greater life satisfaction than the group not having the service dogs. The study mentioned that five participants with service dogs even reconciled with their spouses after they obtained service dogs. The conclusion overall stated, “Service dogs are very good for people.”

Veterans are Not Statistics

The information presented on the statistics of life expectancy came from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). The information refers to the general population—not to any one person.

Miss Molly with CadburyMiss Molly’s goal is to let you know that help for the veteran exists and awaits your engagement. Reach out for the help because you are unique, special, and worthy of the resources dedicated for your health and longevity. And, Molly adds, “THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE AND SACRIFICE!”

Post your Comments:

What benefits do you receive from your service dog? Please comment below.

About the blogger

Dr. Penelope “Penny” Culbreth-Graft is a retired city manager and graduate professor. She lives with her husband, William, and dog, Molly, on Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado. She writes, paints, cares for her husband, and spends time with her grandchildren.