1 August 2023

It's official: Pet owners are a breed unto themselves, national survey shows

| Sally Hopman
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Dog in bed

Who me? Sleep on a bed? No, you’ve got the wrong end of the stick. Photo: Sally Hopman.

Shocking results from a survey this week about the percentage of Australians who allow their dogs to sleep on their beds. It seems more than 40 per cent allow such a crime to happen. Unbelievable.

Wait, it gets worse. About a third of those surveyed in the Compare the Market study said they delayed going on holiday because they didn’t want to leave Spot, Bruce, Lassie, Fluffy or Kevin home alone.

But we’ve left the most outrageous finding to last: one in four humans surveyed, count ’em, one in four, said they used their pet as an excuse to get out of going to a social function. Who knew?

Not go to the opening of a VIP envelope because little Mickey would be by himself for a couple of hours? (Meanwhile, little Mickey might be old, but he’s clearly not past it – he’d made plans to go kennel surfing down the road with a foxy little number while his human was out.)

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Miss a night out where you could talk about changing the world with people you probably wouldn’t like if you knew them – and who wanted to talk to someone else anyway but you got in the way? Then there’s the opportunity, whilst there, to scoff unidentifiable things on sticks? Never going to happen.

If you think about leaving your dog in the car briefly while you go inside to talk to said people and eat things from said sticks, forget it. Rather, you stay in the car and let the dog go inside, especially if there’s white carpet so they can go fetch whatever.

Then there are the, according to the survey, folk who delay their holidays because they don’t want to leave their pet behind. Behind what? The aircraft? Take the pet with you. It’s not like you don’t know what to expect. They’ll eat, sleep and do the other things just like they do at home. Or, better still, drop the humans off at a lovely, if mine-filled, resort out in the middle of nowhere. Just get Lassie to go down the mines to find them once she’s had her fill at the doggy spa. Timmy can help.

Sensibly, 35 per cent said their living situation was influenced by their choice of pet while four per cent put off having children because of their pets. (What do they think pets are? Chopped liver?).

READ ALSO Why we dig dogs: A tale from 1788 disembarkation to today

Then you get to the slightly dodgy end of the study – like when it says only 4.6 per cent of those surveyed put their pets ahead of family members. What is wrong with these people? If it’s because they have a problem with sounds and/or aromas emanating from dogs after a feed of, well, anything, they’re hardly Robinson Crusoe’s dogs. Haven’t these humans ever held a post-feed baby?

Fifteen percent of those surveyed buy their pets Christmas presents – and clearly that goes both ways. I often get bones/dead bits of farm animal and unidentifiable objects left for me, everywhere, and sometimes it’s even been on my birthday.

Here’s hoping that the next survey they do looks at what people do/say when they get a new dog.

New pet owners’ goals are high, but the dogs’ ones are higher. It will always live outside, they say, as the dog breaks through the screen door to get inside to the couch/bed/fridge/lap. It will never lick my face, they say, grasping for a cloth with which to wipe off the globs of yuk. My animal will never eat anything except that green freeze-dried, de-flavoured dog food from Denmark that sells for a krone per kibble, or a bag for the price of most of Tasmania. No digging up old bones/shoes/very small other animals for this dog. Yeah, right. Woof.

The Compare the Market study surveyed 1007 Australian pet owners aged 18 and over in April/May 2023.

Original Article published by Sally Hopman on Riotact.

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