The things we put up with!! In my house, we all complain about the daily vacuuming of the hair-tumbleweeds created by our animal housemates, yet we embrace and welcome these little guys into our homes.
Data from a recent pet food manufacturer’s survey states that 81% of dog owners consider their canine friends to be part of the family and 77% talk to them as if they were human. A little research into North American’s relationship with family pets led me to ponder about how our family viewed our furry members. It made me realize just how much we all love our dog Molly and our numerous cat friends. See how you and your pet(s) stack up.
Fun Family Pet Facts:
1. 83% of pet owners refer to themselves as “Mom” or “Dad” when talking to or about their pets. Molly definitely knows who mommy is in our house. She can even differentiate that sound of her car coming down the street. Maybe not as impressive as Lassie finding a child stuck in a well but certainly indicates that she’s no dummy.
2. Look around as you drive along and you’ll see that 68% of pet owners travel with their pet. Got this one in the bag, too. Molly definitely knows what “car ride” means and demonstrates with hysterical barking and a vigorous gallop towards the front door. She even knows that a left turn off Vedder Road onto Thomas Road means she is going for a visit to Valley Veterinary Services and to my dismay, her enthusiasm level drops precipitously.
3. Pet owners are creative and 39% give their pets human names. Yup, we are solidly represented with this statistic. Cats, Fanny, Golda, Barbie and Debbie follow suit as well. Even the two feral cats that we feed sport the names Moses and Lewis. So there Fido and Snowflake fans……
4. Since pets are part of the family, 82% of pet owners think of their pets more than once during the day. Guilty…needs no explanation or excuse….just guilty.
5. Pet owners love to celebrate special occasions and 67% include their pets in holiday traditions. Our pets are present at all events, big and small, sometimes to the dismay of our “not-so-pet-friendly” guests. The cats always seem to seek out the allergic-types while Molly will find the one kid terrified of any kind of dog. Of course, he never gets holiday food since I am, after all, a veterinarian.
6. Speaking of holidays, 52% of pet owners include news of their pet or a photo with their Christmas cards. We don’t send Christmas cards because Molly loves trees so we are trying our hardest to be “green”. And she is thankful to be spared the embarrassment of donning a Santa hat.
7. 64% of pet owners expect that their pets would come to their rescue if they were in danger. I’m not sure that this is the case with Molly. On a hike up Teapot Hill, Molly required being carried up a particularly steep part playing up her arthritis just a bit. She will kick up a good fuss if a racoon shows its face in our backyard, though I have never felt particularly threatened by one.
8. Pet owners are brave people so 93% say they would risk their own lives for their pets. Why the discrepancy here? (See Fact #7) Our pets have some “splaining to do.”
9. When asked “Who listens to you best?” 45% of pet owners said their four legged friends did. Only 30% chose their spouse or significant other. I love Molly but I would still take marriage counselling over any advice she might offer. I suggest the same for the 55% who don’t talk to their people. .
10. 32% of dog owners admit to kissing their dogs on the mouth even though 34% of dogs drink out of the toilet. Now, I love my dog but I simply know too much about the realities of microbiology and bacterial infection to go for this.
11. And last, but not least, if stranded on a desert island and limited to only one companion, 50% of people would choose their dog. Sorry, Molly…..your mom is a better conversationalist, is funny and way cuter than you. And don’t forget, I’m stranded on a desert island so how much fun could that be. You’ll have more fun at home with everyone else and I still love you.
We know that you love your furry animal companions and that is why we work so hard to treat them like the family that you see them as!
Posted by: Dr. Mark Steinebach