Sunday, February 28, 2010

More on rescuing an animal

An American Animal Hospital Association survey found that three-quarters of pet owners would go into debt to provide for their animals’ well-being. Nearly a third — and almost half of all single people — say that of everyone in their lives, they rely most on their pets for companionship and affection, a Yankelovich survey for American Demographics reveals.
            ~ Jon Katz
            The New Work of Dogs

In fact, a study under way at a major U.S. veterinary school was finding that more than half the married women in its sample told researchers that they got more emotional support from their dogs then from their husbands. (In March 2001, The New York Times reported on a similar survey with almost identical findings.) Their dogs understood them better than some members of their families, they said. More than 80 percent believed their dogs loved them “unconditionally” and would be loyal to them “no matter what.” Almost half said they couldn’t really say the same for their spouses.
            ~ Ibid

In Albert and Bulcroft’s 1988 study “Pets, Families, and the Life Course,” the researchers found that pet ownership is comparatively low among widowed people for a number of reasons: physical frailty, expense, housing restrictions, and a desire for autonomy. Many older people in Montclair also told me they didn’t want to get a dog that would almost surely outlive them.
But for those widowed or single people who own one, a pet can be an important source of affection and companionship. “As givers and receivers of affection,” note Albert and Bulcroft, “pets can contribute to the morale maintenance of people who live alone or with few significant others to play such roles.” And, compared to other animals, the researchers found, dogs are the most adept at playing affectionate and emotionally supportive roles.
~ Ibid

1 comment:

C.S. said...

I've been a widow for 4 years, got two small dogs 6 months after my husband died. I also have 2 cats. I love them all with devotion, and get a lot of affection from them. The dogs are great companions, get me out for walks in the neighborhood or parks every day, great exercise and nice way to meet people. I never plan to marry again, and consider myself a 'semi-hermit' being a writer. Like you, I hestitate to travel due to leaving my pets alone. I honestly think there's a little something wrong with anyone who doesn't have a pet -- unless they are too frail to take care of one.