He doesn't talk back. He doesn't interrupt. And he's always up for a cuddle. Your dog is clearly an attentive partner, certainly beating out the cat (who either falls asleep or walks away) and the goldfish (who keeps giving you the cold shoulder). But does your pooch beat out even your human partner or husband?
A recent survey of more than 2,000 female dog owners found one out of five women claims she talks to her pooch more than her man. What's more, 42 per cent have taken time off work to spend the day with their sick pets, and 32 per cent leave their TV on to keep their animals company while they're away.
Is this a sign our pet obsession has gone too far? No way, says Richard Rockett Burgess of Supadog Sensitive, who commissioned the study. "Nothing is too much trouble to make sure our furry family member is contented and healthy. We share everything with our dogs, from our favourite television program to musical preferences and we're not afraid of showing real affection for our favourite companion." According to a 2007 study, about two-thirds of households have at least one pet, with 45 per cent of those families having more than one animal.
We're not saying talking to your pet is a bad thing -- everyone does it. But when it comes to talking to your dog more than your spouse, it could be a sign of trouble in your marriage. Research shows treating your pet like a human can be a sign of loneliness.
"When people lack a sense of connection with other people, they're more likely to see their pets, gadgets or gods as human-like," Nicholas Epley, Assistant Professor of Behavioral Science at the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business tells Science Daily. "Being lonely is a bad thing for you... It's actually a greater risk for morbidity or mortality than cigarette smoking is."
If loneliness is a problem in your relationship, you likely already know it should be addressed. But if you've got something you need to get off your chest and no one is around but Fido, go ahead and vent.