The relationship between pets and people have grown and changed with time. More and more owners have the perception that their pets should be and are considered one of the family. In other words, pets are now perceived as more than objects to be owned but living beings with immeasurable value.
As it is now, cats and dogs were common pets in the past. However, their role within a family has changed a bit in the modern age. For instance, in the past, a dog provided more than just companionship, he/she would also do work–like herding sheep–and contribute to the family income. The same ideology can be applied to cats as well. Felines were good to have around the house to capture rats or any other unwanted critters.
In the modern age, more cats and dogs have taken over the role of friend or confidant. In a study of 1,000 participants, conducted by Porch, peoples’ preference for animal companionship were measured. It showed the companionship preference of Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials.
The results of the survey show an increase in people preferring their dog for companionship over people, cats, and solitude through the generations. The most interesting statistic from Porch‘s study is how the gap between people preferring canine companionship and human confidants has widened from the Baby Boomer’s generation and Millennials.
At 36.9 percent are Baby Boomers who took the survey and said they preferred their dogs as companions compared to the 37.8 percent who favored humans. This reveals that more Baby Boomers preferred human companionship over dogs, but not by much. There is less than one percent difference between Baby Boomers who prefer human confidants and those who prefer canines.
The numbers shoot up, however, and have a greater different during the generation of Millennials. 40.7 percent of Millennials that participated in the survey preferred the companionship of their dogs compared to 31.9 percent who stated they preferred human companionship. The difference between canine and human companionship was much more significant with Millennials at 8.8 percent.
Dogs aren’t the only pets that rose to the companionship role through the years. 18.9 percent of Baby Boomers who participated in Porch‘s survey preferred feline friends. The number rose to 22.4 percent in Millennials. However, Generation X seems to be the most welcoming to cats. 23.2 percent stated in the study that they preferred feline companionship.
An article published in Vetfolio provides a reason to why an increasing amount of people prefer animal companions to human ones. According to the paper by Sharon L. Crowell-Davis, pets are privy to a majority of their pet parents’ lives. For instance, people aren’t ashamed to be naked in front of their pet. Sometimes, people may even confide in their pet and build a sense of trust in them. People aren’t afraid to be themselves in front of their pet.
The relationship between a human and his/her pet isn’t one-sided either. The Odyssey lists pets’ ability to provide comfort, cherish their owners, and their loyalty as some of the reasons pets have carved a place into the family dynamic. After all, any human person who was as loyal, compassionate, and reliable as a good pet would be welcomed into anyone’s home. It’s the level of trust, and love pets bring into their relationships with people that have changed how people perceive relationships with pets.