According to the Edmonton Journal, the study showed that 53 percent of Canadians who own pets find them more reliable than people. About 99 percent of Canadians talk to their pets, and one-third of them have confided deep secrets to their four-legged friend.
The survey was conducted in November by Harris/Decima for Purina and its pet connection website, PawsWay.ca. Surprisingly, it showed that pet parents look to their animals for a wide range of interactions, including using them as confidantes, matchmakers, personal trainers and even therapists.
Shiri Joshua, a psychotherapist who specializes in animal-human relationships, told the Edmonton Journal, ”There are many reasons why people trust their pets, but what’s really important is that we learn from their behaviour. We can honor what they teach us by offering the same gifts to the people in our lives; namely, by being kinder as human beings towards one another.”
Joshua said that having a pet in our life may make it easier for us to deal with others and those we come in contact with. ”Sharing a life with a companion animal actually acts as a catalyst for human-to-human interaction; by observation alone, it’s quite obvious that people talk to one another, laugh and smile more if there is a pet involved,” she said.
The survey also found that pets have provided a way to network. According to the study, 61 percent of pet owners say their neighbors talk to them more when they are with their pet. Additionally, about 41 percent said that their pets have lead to them beginning a new relationship with someone they might not have met otherwise. Overall, pet people seem more prone to talk to each other.
Animals have also been helpful to those dealing with illness. ”Companion animals are very sensitive to their owner’s emotions and energy because they share their space,” Joshua said. “They are able to sense when things are not right and respond accordingly. They often pick up on our moods and even physical illness before we are aware of it ourselves.”
This way of thinking might explain why 61 percent of the survey respondents said that their pets treat them differently when they’re sick. Several pet owners noted that their animals helped lift their spirits.
In addition, 33 percent of respondents said that if they could, they would bring their pets to work because they don’t like the thought of their furry friend being home alone all day.
Pet survey facts:
73 percent of respondents believe pets can sniff out illness.
Women are more likely to confide in pets (33 percent) than men (18 percent).
44 percent of respondents would bring their pets to a hotel if allowed.
86 percent of respondents believe pets can help lift a bad mood.
82 percent of retirees (65 plus) feel less alone in their home because of pets.
67 percent of respondents believe their pets help to keep them active.