City People Love Their Dogs More Than Country People

Jeanne Sager
10

my dogI love my dog.

Sometimes so much so that I tease my husband he plays second fiddle (in all rooms BUT the bedroom, natch).

So if there was a study bound to get me hot and bothered, it's the one claiming city people love their dogs more than country people.

I live in the country. And did I mention the family pecking order?

So how did the folks at Indiana University come up with this sweeping statement?

City people, it seems, think of their animals more as "children," while people in rural areas think of their pets like any other animal.

Although by and large, I'd challenge the assertion, there are some clear differences in the family make-up.

In urban areas, more people live with their pets in smaller spaces -- it's hard to treat your spouse's dog with contempt when she is always underfoot.

It's easier in rural areas to share a house with an animal you're not crazy about. Trust me: I moved my cat into my parents' house for three months while my husband and I looked for an apartment. It was the first time in my entire life I'd seen my father in the same building as a cat.

He survived.

The assumption that pets are "like any other animal" is ascribed to the farming life, but growing up in dairy country, I've found just the opposite.

Farm families who depend on the cows to make a living treat them well, but they maintain a professional distance. That's where their dogs come in -- they can name them AND cuddle with them at night, without worrying that they'll have to sell them come fall.

Also of bearing -- the study examined how much people spend on their pets. If they spent more, the theory was they cared more.

I'll throw a monkey wrench in that one: the cat who drives me the most insane in my house is the one who we've spent the most on between his weird eye surgery when he was a kitten to tests on his kidneys and so on.

My pride and joy, my George cat, has cost me no more than his standard visits and his neutering. Come to think of it, maybe there is a relationship between my love of my animals and their ties to my wallet. You cost me less, the more I love you.

Can we take into account the pure cost ratios here? A vet in the boonies is cheaper than one in the city. And I daresay they're more practical: in a rural area where the median income is low, they don't go in for a lot of outrageously expensive life-saving tactics.

A rural vet knows what their patients' "parents" can afford, and they need to live down the street from them for the rest of their lives.

I don't consider my dog my "child," but I love her to pieces.

Does this study fit your fam?


Image by Jeanne Sager

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