Neil Keene; The Daily Telegraph; November 13, 2012
PUCKER up pooch – those sloppy kisses from our four-legged friends could be doing us the world of good.
A study of pet companionship in Australia has found owning an animal offers a wide variety of benefits, from the simple pleasure of making us smile to teaching us about loyalty and unconditional love.
Three-quarters of people surveyed said pets were “crucial” to their happiness, while almost 60 per cent told their animals: “I love you.”
“Pets fulfil a whole lot of different needs that people have – they can make you happy in a million different ways,” La Trobe university companion animal relationships expert Associate Professor Pauleen Bennett said.
“But the thing that came out of this research that we didn’t expect was that a lot of people believe their pets make them a better person.
“They do that by modelling things like courage, dependability, tolerance, forgiveness and a lot of other qualities we want to see in ourselves.”
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Colgate commissioned the survey as part of its “Smile For Change” project, where $1 will be donated to the Smith Family every time pet owners post a photo of their pet to the company’s Facebook gallery.
The survey found almost one in five were either happy for their pets to lick them on the face or to actually plant a kiss on their animal’s lips. Almost a third of people said they shared intimate secrets with their pets and more than half chose to share their beds with them each night.
Sydney pet owner Jess Dwyer said that while her two pomeranians, Bear and Teo, were small in size, they were a huge part of her life.
“They make me smile every single day and are always happy to be a part of whatever I am doing, especially when it is a trip to the park,” she said.