If Our Pets Could Talk
By Jackie Kellum
Who is the better listener? Your spouse / partner or your pet? A poll by Associated Press Poll did a survey of pet owners of both sexes asking this question. The spouse / partner did not come out one hundred per cent. In fact, a third of pet-owning women said their pets are better listeners than their spouse /partner. Eighteen percent of pet-owning men said their pets are better listeners than their women counter-parts.
Many of those involved in the study, actually ten per cent of those polled, felt more comfortable discussing problems with their pets. Although the pet did not offer any suggestions or opinions, they did not make any judgments either. At times of stress people might say things to another person in that moment, that they might regret later. This pet relax time gives the ‘troubled’ person some time to relax, think about the problem from both view points and go from there with a solution. And frequently a lick from their pet dog offered a great calming effect during this stressful time. Comparing dogs versus cats as calming ‘therapists’, the dogs came out ahead of cats. Twenty-five percent of dog owners said their canines listened better than a spouse, while only fourteen percent of cat owners chose the feline instead of a spouse / partner as the better listener.
Dogs can teach us to be good listeners. Although your pet may not understand the words you are saying, they are ‘reading’ your emotions – the highs and especially the ‘lows.’ They realize it is not always the words that are being said, but more in how you are telling what you are saying. They provide us with unconditional support. Pets do not take over the conversation, indicate what you are saying and feeling is not ‘valid’ or rush you to get to the point of the conversation.
Dogs are quick to forgive, they don’t care what you look like, and they freely give their love and affection. They never talk back, never give us the wrong opinion and they are always there for us. One of their special attributes is even when you tell them your deepest and darkest secrets, they do not gossip. A pet does not ask intrusive unnecessary questions, does not moralize, or give unwanted opinions. They just seem to understand what you need – their attention and presence.
For those who live alone with a pet, talking out loud offers comfort. It also stops questioning by others about your mental state when someone observes you speaking out loud when there is no other person seen in the room. You can always claim you were talking to your pet.
Netflix also did a pet versus partner survey with over one-thousand pet owners. This survey revealed that eighty-four percent of those surveyed have watched Netflix with their furry friends, and—perhaps unsurprisingly seventy-one percent think their pet is the better partner for watching movies. And really, it does make sense as pets don’t talk during the ‘good parts’ of the movie, and they only sneak a tiny bit of your movie ‘munchies.’ Another reason stated in the survey was their pet was there in times of need. In fact, twenty-eight percent of those people said that their pet gave them needed comfort during the scary and sad parts of the movie.
Our pets are truly therapeutic ‘medicine’—without the side-effects.