Pet stats in real life
In a country in which supposedly 93 percent of pet owners describe their pets as members of the family, where 70 percent of its pet-owning citizens sleep with their dogs and 78 percent with their cats, in which almost three out of four married pet owners claim to greet their pet before their spouse at the end of a long day, I say…where’s the humanity?
No, I’m not complaining about the high degree of reported love-festing with US pets. I guess I’m saying sometimes it just don’t ring true.
Why, if we love them so fervently then, do so few of our pets have health insurance, savings plans or serious”backup” in the event of an emergency? Why do we euthanize alarming rates of animals in our shelters every year? Why do pit bull bans flourish? (Check out this newest proposal for NYC.) And why do I still have a hard time convincing some clients that their pets’ teeth must be brushed or professionally cleaned?
Sure, the laws are not all in the hands of we, the animal lovers. And, of course, shelter euthanasia has an untoward degree of buy-in from the non pet-loving segments of society. But I don’t truly believe this first 93% number (even if it’s 75%, as I’ve read elsewhere) on the pets-as-family-thing.
…but perhaps we all have different definitions of what constitutes “family.”
After coming across these stats in a recent article (“How Far Should We Go to Save Our Pets” in last Sunday’s Boston Globe), I really wanted to write a post on how three out of four married pet owners come home and offer Fluffy and Fido a “Hi-ho” before greeting their human partner. Unfortunately, this topic, too, proved a tad depressing:
I’m not married, the pets aren’t even his, and still my boyfriend greets the pets (sometimes even the goats) before I get so much as a “How was your day, dear?”
I may quibble with the family member numbers and bemoan the dearth of family values as I know them but pets as an end-of-day stressbuster? I guess there’s no competition.