Who's the Better Listener, Your Husband or the Dog?Published April 27, 2010
People cope with problems by talking things out . . . but to their pets? A new AP-Petside.com poll asked pet owners to reveal who's included in their most intimate discussions, and the results are sure to get people talking. One out of 3 married women (33%) say their pets are better listeners than their husbands. Diane Demaske, a Petside Facebook fan, says her pets "can read my emotions better than my husband." Overall, 25% of pet owners feel their pet is a better listener than their spouse, and the battle between cats and dogs continues - dog owners are more likely to declare their dog as the better listener than cat owners (25 % vs. 14%). About 1 in 10 pet owners (8%) claim they often talk about their personal problems to their pets. Women (10%), single men (9%), and people earning under $50K (12%) are most likely to do the talking. Only 5% of men, 4% of married men, and 5% of those earning more than $50K tell their problems to their pets. But Petside Facebook users tend to disagree. We asked "Do you talk to your pet about your life? Do you think they understand you?" and our Wall flooded with responses. "I talk to my pets about everything," said Jacque Truelove-Desimone. "I know they understand. They know my moods, and when I'm not feeling well, they love to curl up next to me and help me feel better." Judith Graham Breslin agreed. "One of them just sits and listens," says Breslin. "The other one will grunt and slap his paws around...my pets know when I am happy, sad, sick, etc." Donna Malley-Burke's service dog "understands almost everything," while Vivien F. Ariola's dog "knows when I am going somewhere without him by the way I dress...especially the types of shoes." But what if a pet seems down? Who can they talk to? Few in our poll have taken their pet to a vet or pet psychologist (5%) or given their pet an anti-depressant (4%), but almost 20% would be at least somewhat likely to take a pet to a vet or psychologist if it showed symptoms of depression. Women were nearly twice as likely as men to say they would bring their pet to a professional (23% vs. 13%). And many more people under age 30 would do so compared to those over 65 (30% vs. 12%). Interestingly, dog owners (23%) were more likely than cat owners (11%) to consider visiting a vet or psychologist about their pet's mood. Hopefully, many pet owners don't have to make this decision, since 85% of owners say their pet displays mood swings infrequently. Do you talk to your pets (more than your spouse or friends)? What do you think of pet psychologists? Join the conversation by dropping us a comment below.
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