I have lots to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. My kids are healthy, I have a great job, and then there's Marley. It's amazing how much happiness he's brought to our home since adopting him almost 2 months ago. Yes, I have to clean my condo more frequently, go outside and stand in the rain when he needs to go outside, and I spend a small fortune on dog food...but Marley is worth every minute of it. He makes us laugh, and he clearly loves us too. In short...he makes me happy. Which is great news...because thanks to Marley, I'm going to live a long life.

A huge new study just looked at the medical records of three and a half million people, and found that dog owners tend to live longer than other people do. They found people are 33% less likely to die if they owned a dog. It was 11% for dog owners who didn't live alone. It's not clear why owning a dog extends your life, but the researchers think there are two main benefits: they expose you to more types of bacteria, which strengthens your immune system. And you also get more exercise.

Terriers, retrievers, and other dogs originally bred for hunting had the biggest effect. Probably because they're more active and need more exercise, which forces you to get more exercise too.

So if you're thankful for your dog this Thanksgiving...maybe slip him a piece of turkey when no one is watching.