Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Pets really do become our children

My doggie Ellie is helping me work on a book.
I often tell people that my dogs are my children. They're part of the family. I long for them when I'm away - even if I'm just at work - and I'm generally more concerned for their well being than for my own.

I'm not alone in this. The Internet is filled with memes about cats and dogs and the trend goes towards being a pet parent or guardian instead of an owner.

Some people are skeptical, of course, but looking at expenditures for pets and children, it is true. The Atlantic features a fascinating article about how pets are taking the place of children. The article mentions how pets give an outlet for nurturing instincts at a fraction of the cost and hassle of kids.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics have charted pet spending. They conclude:

  • Nearly three quarters of US households own pets.
  • There are about 218 million pets in the US, not counting several million fish.
  • In 2011, Americans spent about $61.4 billion on their pets.

These numbers are even more interesting when put into perspective. Households spend more on their pets than on alcohol, residential landline phone bills, or men and boys clothing. Couples without children spend the most on their pets, and as birth rates continuously decrease, the future looks bright for the pet industry.

~ Maria Sadowski

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