Here is the full transcript of Rodney Habib’s TEDx Talk: Why Don’t Dogs Live Forever? at TEDxNSCCWaterfront conference. This event took place on May 26, 2016 at Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
Listen to the MP3 Audio: Why Don’t Dogs Live Forever by Rodney Habib at TEDxNSCCWaterfront
Rodney Habib – Vlogger
Dogs are awesome. I mean, literally, just a smile on a dog’s face has the ability to lighten your heart up. I even come up with an equation for this just to tell how awesome they are.
Take anything, any situation that there is. Fire a dog in there, and it’s going to become awesome. For instance: mud. It’s not awesome.
But now you put a dog into that situation, and you have awesome. And the best part is that science backs up just how awesome dogs are. Harvard University recently conducted a study and found that just by owning a dog, it not only has the ability to make you happy but it can make you healthier.
Just petting your dog has the ability to lower your blood pressure, lower your heart rate, making you calmer and more mindful. Owning a dog for those who are isolated within their homes: getting out more, more interactive, interacting within their communities.
I even come up with an equation thinking and showing that dogs have the ability to grow our communities. For instance, take a look at Jack.
Jack never really got out much, stayed at home a lot. That was until he got a puppy. Then Jack was forced to get out and walk his puppy. Here is where Jack meets Jill. Jill falls in love with Jack’s puppy. One year later, they have a baby: community growth.
And 41% of North Americans today actually have a dog. Now as awesome as dogs are, sadly, they’re flawed, according to science. You see, dogs here are not living that long, not as long as they should, and they’re dying very young. And we ask the questions why, these animals are living in some pretty scary statistics. And we have to start looking around the world at these statistics.
We know that in the last 5 years in the United Kingdom, diabetes is up 900% when it comes to the dog. In North America, the obesity epidemic is up 60% as animals are plagued with obesity, and that statistics continues to climb.
And the worst one, the most staggering statistic of all, the one that is decimating our pets all over the planet is cancer. One in two dogs today is diagnosed with cancer. In fact, research are showing that of any animal on the planet, the dog has the highest rate of cancer. And this has left the scientists scratching their heads. What’s happening?
So, what you’re seeing now is the largest canine study to ever be conducted: 3,000 dogs, 25 million dollars to figure out why the dogs are broken. And it’s being conducted on Golden Retrievers.
So we have to ask the question, “What is going on?” Now according to Dr Lappin who’s involved in the study, he said that when he graduated from Vet School in the 70s, dogs used to live to be 17. Sadly today, they’re only living to be 11. And the Golden Retriever itself is only living to be nine or ten.
So what is it? What are these factors that are plaguing us with cancer? Well, I tell you, when the Broad Institute conducted an extensive study with cancer, they found mind-blowing information that leave human [head his] jaw on the ground when this research came on. It showed that although 10% of cancer is genetic, 90% are the results of lifestyle and environmental factors, the things that are around us.
And so if we want to dig deeper into that 90%, let’s remove the 10% for a second; you can’t change your dog’s genes if you went and adopted your dog from a shelter.
So what’s in that 90%? Well, if you were to fire it into like a cancer pie, and we were to remove slices, what is research telling us? What’s causing all this cancer? Stress, obesity, infection, sedentary lifestyle or lack of exercise, and toxins and pollution. But it leaves us with this giant piece to the puzzle, that big piece right there, and what is it you’re seeing? It’s diet.
And according to science, this is the most important piece that we’re not focusing on. In fact, after multiple studies, 30% to 40% of all cancers can be prevented by simply implementing dietary changes. 40% of cancer can be prevented by food.
In 2013, my dog Sammie was diagnosed with cancer. And so I knew I needed to do everything I could in my power to figure out how and why this happened. I burned through routers, Ethernet cords, researching, day in and day out, trying to figure out how was I going to stop this disease from progressing in her body.
And when research pointed to me that 40% of cancer was in the diet, I knew that’s where I had to start. So I set out on a worldwide journey, traveling around the world looking for answers. And today, I’m going to share with you my journey.
But before I do, there is a very important word that we all need to understand. And that word is called nutrigenomics. Nutrigenomics is the new science between the correlation of diet and how it affects our DNA. For example, let’s say you are handed a whole bunch of lousy genes: your parents, their parents, and parents; cancer in that whole family. You have the ability to keep those genes off by putting good functional foods in your body.
But then you’re going to start putting things in your body that aren’t so good. You have the ability to spark those genes on. And you’re creating disease. And I knew that there was going to be a correlation between nutrigenomics and my dog. And so my journey started.
And as a blogger today, I go to information to the World Wide Web, a digital community’s largest interactive database where all the information in the world is there. And for me, it seemed pretty evident where I was going to go. I went to where one of the oldest dogs in the world was eating. Logically, these dogs were bulletproofing themselves from cancer, so what were they doing? So I started to travel, and I started to research.
And I found dogs on all different parts of the continent that were living in their teens and in their twenties, until a viral post that literally broke the Internet. And it was discovered that the oldest dog in the world was discovered in Australia.
Meet Brian McLaren, a dairy farmer, a beautiful man with a simple life and a beautiful dog. And he had no idea that his 30-year Kelpie, 30-year old dog, was going to be a World Record holder for the oldest dog in the world. So this is where I had to start; I needed to talk to this man. “My Gosh, Brian, tell me, what were you feeding your pet?”
now he told me that there were a couple of factors here when he was feeding Maggie. For instance, he wasn’t feeding her a lot; calorie restriction. He said some days the dog wouldn’t eat. She was self-fasting. And then exercise came into the equation. I told him here in North America, people like to go outside after work and walk the dog around the block for 20 minutes, or they’ve got that wonderful giant fence in the yard, they just let the dog run in the yard.
And he laughed at me. And he said, “Me and my dog, on average, get nine kilometers of exercise a day. She follows me around when I’m driving around the tractor”.