dogs make us better

Posted by Dr. Ernie Ward on Jan 05 2017
Missing file.

According to a recent survey, dogs “make their people better.” Setting aside my initial reaction of, “WHAT ABOUT CATS!!??”, I’ll go along with this blatantly biased survey from BarkBox, purveyors of a subscription toy service for, you guessed it, dogs. I’ll overlook their forgetting my feline family members and focus on their findings that validate pets make us better people. This time.

BarkBox recently conducted their first ever “Dog Parent Survey,” analyzing responses from 1,006 dog owners. I treasure any survey that helps decipher and showcase the powerful bond we share with animals. The 2016 Dog Parent Survey delivered the goods, even if they did omit cats, horses, birds, small mammals and reptiles. Maybe next time.

93% of dog parents responded that sharing their life with a dog made them feel like a better person in at least one meaningful way. I can’t imagine what the other 7% were thinking.

71% replied dogs made them happier, and 80% remarked it was easier to wake up each morning because their dog greets them. That, and if they don’t get up quickly, they’ll be greeted by a very different kind of good morning – if you know what I mean.

At just over half of the canine parents surveyed, 54% commented living with dogs made them more patient. That leaves the other half with pups under the age of 2. Honesty, people, honesty.

Oddly, only 47% of dog parents said their dog made them more affectionate. Either they were a) already super touchy, b) cold-hearted or c) secretly cat lovers.

Fortunately for 85% of dog parents, their dog has helped them get through a difficult time. According to the expert felines I consulted, they wouldn’t have had a difficult time to begin with if they’d simply picked a cat instead of a dog. I think we know we’re talking about house training.

49% of dog parents admit they share their bed with their dog. That leaves 51% who have clearly missed the pleasure of a canine foot warmer. About a third of respondents claim they’d “sleep in an uncomfortable position to keep their dog next to them at night.” Foot warmers, people. Use them. Very comfortable.

Only 19% “wish their dog could be an acceptable wedding guest.” Who says they’re not?

Snoring (52%) and making a mess in the house (48%) were considered “more tolerable” than if a human counterpart engaged in the same objectionable activity. As the father of two teenagers, I wholeheartedly agree. It boils down to a matter of scale.

Finally, almost all dog parents, 97%, commented they’d do nearly anything to make their dog happier, including moving. When interviewed for this story, the expert cats I spoke with snickered, citing unpublished data suggesting 99.9% of cat owners would be willing to sacrifice everything to please their kitty commander. “Selling the house is so 2008!” snorted one feline.

In all seriousness, I love research such as the 2016 Dog Parent Survey. It warms my heart to see so many loving and caring for furry family members. Our pets bring so much joy, comfort and love into our lives, and ask for so little in return. Pets do make us better people.