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Is Your Pet Your Sweetheart?

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Is Your Pet Your Sweetheart?

In 2006 there were more than 72 million pet dogs in the U.S. and nearly 82 million pet cats, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, U.S. Pet Ownership & Demographics Sourcebook (2007 Edition). In the same year, nearly half of pet owners, or 49.7 percent, considered their pets to be family members.

How many of those consider their pets to be their sweethearts? In a poll taken of 3,000 British dog and cat owners, 19 percent stated that they would rather have a pet than be involved in a romantic partnership. For 81 percent of the dog owners polled, it would be an instant deal breaker if their date didn’t like their pet. And 79 percent polled stated that they wouldn’t give up their pet for a romantic partner.

Pet Me If You're Single

A study by the National Institutes of Health revealed that having a pet can help to diminish feelings of loneliness, particularly for women living alone, and compensate for the absence of human companionship. However, owning a pet doesn’t have to disallow meeting a human mate. In the British study cited above, 5 percent of dog owners have been on a date with someone they met walking their dog, with 1.5 percent still dating that person. I am in the U.S. and am amongst those who have been on a date with someone I met while walking my dog (while not being in the 1.5 percent still dating that person.)  I have been known to fall in love with a Golden Retriever in a heartbeat, and it may have been possible that I confused who my attraction was for when I looked up at the other end of the leash. However, I believe that how you do anything is how you do everything. So, observing someone’s relationship with their pet can also reveal a lot about the person.

That may account for the recent popularity of online dating sites for pet owners. DateMyPet.com and PetPeopleMeet.com are two such sites. On the latter, I read a success story from a woman who met her match when she fell in love with a man who also rescues dogs. Yet, once in a human relationship, people often state they crave the kind of unconditional love they receive from their pets. Can Pets Improve your Relationship?, an article by Dr. Suzanne Phillips, Psy.D., ABPP, states that all the qualities we often want in our mate appear similar to those we experience with our pets. Her reports show that a person in a relationship often wants to be spoken to with the same affection shown to their pet.

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Read more: Behavior & Communication, Cats, Dogs, Humor & Inspiration, Pets, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Lisa Spector

Lisa Spector is a concert pianist, Juilliard graduate, and canine music expert. She is co-founder of Through a Dog's Ear, the first music clinically demonstrated to calm the canine nervous system. Their new high-tech pet gadget, iCalmDog, is the portable solution to canine anxiety. Lisa shares her home and her heart with her two "career change" Labrador Retrievers from Guide Dogs for the Blind, Sanchez and Gina. Follow Lisa's blog here.

297 comments

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3:28PM PST on Mar 3, 2013

YES all my 11 furry feline kids!!! There is a rule at my house that if any kitties are on the bed and my other human half wants special attention then he has to wait til the cats have left...they rule the Roost always...thanks.

7:46AM PST on Mar 3, 2013

thanks for sharing :)

9:30PM PST on Mar 2, 2013

yes she is! : )))

9:29PM PST on Mar 2, 2013

yes she is! : )))

4:38AM PST on Mar 2, 2013

Our cats are. They cuddle with us when we watch t.v., and Robb will sit in Mom's lap in the morning while she eats breakfast.

8:12AM PST on Mar 1, 2013

YES! My three kitties have been my sweethearts for the past 10 years!! and counting. And my husband has always known this too ;)

4:42AM PST on Feb 18, 2013

She definitely is!

I actually need to take her to the park more often so she is around people of her own species instead of around humans all the time. She probably thinks she is human!

3:19AM PST on Feb 17, 2013

It certainly is

9:41PM PST on Feb 15, 2013

That is a big YES!! She is my baby girl.....

9:12PM PST on Feb 15, 2013

I met a man who was lovely. Tall, dark, handsome, good job, good sense of humour, intelligent, good company. We went on a date and had a wonderful time. Then he told me he was allergic to both cats and dogs. Very disappointing, but I'm afraid it was a deal-breaker. Some things just aren't meant to be.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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