Our society is changing, and perhaps because our extended families no longer live so close to us, or perhaps because urban lifestyles or work demands interfere with our ability to establish close social connections, it appears that our pet dogs have begun to fill the emotional voids that modern living has left in our family and personal relationships. There is already lots of data which shows that dogs are thought of as family members (click here for more on that) and there are many instances where we treat them socially much the way that we do other people (click here to read about that). However a new survey demonstrates just how connected to our social and family lives our pet dogs have become.
This survey comes from Rover, which is the largest online network of dog sitters and dog walkers in the United States, boasting over 100,000 members. Using an Internet survey, Rover polled thousands of pet owners to determine their relationship to their dogs. Their findings are quite interesting.
In some respects I saw the results of this survey confirmed just a couple of days ago. A TV news reporter was interviewing a family who had been rescued from flooding conditions not far from Montréal, Canada. The man was saying "We lost the house, but at least our family was saved." At that point his wife joined the conversation to say "Thank God that our whole family is safe — both of us, our three kids, and both dogs!"
Stanley Coren is the author of many books including: Gods, Ghosts and Black Dogs; The Wisdom of Dogs; Do Dogs Dream? Born to Bark; 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
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