City Folk: 'My Dog is Like a Child to Me'

SOUTH BEND, Ind., Aug. 18 (UPI) — People with city backgrounds tend to see their pets as family members while those with rural backgrounds tend to see pets as animals, U.S. researchers say.

“Which makes sense given the utilitarian relationships people in rural areas are more likely to have with a range of different animals — from farm to wild animals,” David Blouin of Indiana University South Bend says in a statement. “People who think of their pets as their children often re-evaluate this thought when they have human children of their own.”

Whether the pet was seen as a child, a companion or just another animal, albeit a useful one, affected the frequency of owner-pet interactions and veterinarian visits, Blouin says.

Veterinarians were visited at least yearly by 93 percent of dog owners and 77 percent of cat owners, and pet owners spent 2 or more hours daily were with their pet by 81 percent of dog owners and 67 percent of cat owners, the study finds.

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Categorized | Animals, Other
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