The stock market has taken a nose dive, many people find that their income is not keeping pace with their cost of living and the amount of disposable cash available to most of us is greatly reduced. Given these facts it seems sensible to ask the question as to whether people are still willing to spend money on their dogs. Because of the state of the economy, some academic economists and sociologists (probably not pet owners themselves) began to make some dire predictions. These included the expectation that so many people would now choose to give up their dogs in order to save money that animal shelters would find themselves in crisis. Certainly they predicted that the purchasing of many products and services for pet dogs would take a nose dive. As yet there is little evidence that any of these negative outcomes is taking place, and dog owners continue to buy frivolous toys and fancy treats for their pets while the intake rate in animal shelters shows little change from normal.
In light of the bad economy the American Kennel Club decided to conduct a survey to see if people were willing to give up any of their own comforts keep their dogs happy and to allow their pets to continuing living in the style that they had become accustomed to. The study consisted of a survey that was posted on the kennel club's website which attracted 1088 volunteer participants. The results showed a startling level of commitment to our pet dogs. Let me list some of the results in no particular order.
When it comes to their dog's health and welfare people are quite willing to make major sacrifices.
However one unexpected finding had to do with something that some people might consider to be a pure luxury.
Looking over this list of sacrifices that people are willing to make for their pet dogs in tough economic times indicates just how committed people are to their pets. When I mentioned these results to a colleague who is also a psychologist he laughed and said, "It sounds just like the kinds of sacrifices that people are making to have the money to allow their kids to continue to play their favorite sports nowadays--even though cash is scarce because of the economy. Maybe this simply demonstrates the fact that dogs have become part of our families today, and we don't make all that much of a distinction between what we are willing to do for our four-footed or our two-footed family members."
Stanley Coren is the author of many books including: The Modern Dog, Why Do Dogs Have Wet Noses? The Pawprints of History, How Dogs Think, How To Speak Dog, Why We Love the Dogs We Do, What Do Dogs Know? The Intelligence of Dogs, Why Does My Dog Act That Way? Understanding Dogs for Dummies, Sleep Thieves, The Left-hander Syndrome.
Copyright SC Psychological Enterprises Ltd. May not be reprinted or reposted without permission.