[dropcap]Ask[/dropcap] any pet owner about his or her dog, cat, parakeet or even snake, and you’re likely to get more information than you planned to hear, accompanied by a slideshow of photos on the pet owner’s phone. As the owner of a terrier mix I adopted from the pound more than 15 years ago, I’m as guilty as anyone else of this.

Any person who has a pet knows how quickly they can become a major part of your life, and medical studies have shown how pets can help prevent depression and improve a person’s quality of life. In this issue, though, we’re looking at dogs who help save people’s lives: service dogs. From search and rescue labrador retrievers to German shepherds used to help military veterans with PTSD cope with their daily lives, these canines have a profound impact on people’s lives.

We also have the perfect cure for anyone suffering from the holiday blahs this month: food. We looked across the state for the best comfort food that’s guaranteed to cure a grumpy mood. Whether it’s a traditional staple like chicken fried steak or a chance to try something new, we have a variety of options that will have you running to the nearest restaurant, cutlery wielded.

As always, feel free to contact me at [email protected].

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