Beyond the warmth of their companionship, pets are also instigators of social interaction. They may help you start conversations with people that may lead to friendship or even romance. Or they may simply strengthen the bonds of familial love. Pet’s impacts on relationship prove to be beneficial for pet owners in innumerable ways.
Sparks new friendships
How many times has it been that you befriended someone over a simple compliment they gave about your pet? Research shows that having a cuddly pooch, fluffy cat, or even a glossy snake can be a driving force for meeting and making friends.
Lively conversations start between pet owners and other people as they start to gush on how adorable their pets are and begin sharing memorable moments. Talking about one’s pets can also help ease the tension present at times during conversations, which makes it easier to make friends out of an acquaintance or a random stranger.
‘Pet ownership appears to be a significant factor in facilitating social interaction and friendship formation in neighborhoods,’ states Dr Lisa Wood, who is an associate professor. ‘For pet owners, this also translates into new sources of social support, both practical and emotionally supportive in nature.’
Builds bridges of friendship
In most cases, pooches are usually the ones that manage to break the ice. Since dogs are not acquainted with the rules of human interaction, some of them are bound to just run up to some random stranger and greet them with a bark. With their wagging tails, they are able to charm their target and drop their defences against social interaction.
Additionally, canines are not only good at approaching potential human buddies. They also create a ‘normalising’ effect on people with disabilities. People with disabilities tend to feel left out and isolated as they go about their lives.
Strangers might treat them differently due to their incapacities. There may be instances where a non-disabled person does not know how to act upon seeing or talking to a person with disabilities. They tend to avoid eye contact, get cautious about their personal space, and brusquely interact with them. However, studies show that these behaviours diminish greatly once a dog is escorting the person with disabilities.
Strengthens romantic relationships
Pets can add more love and commitment in a couple’s relationship. Recent research conducted in Carleton University shows that getting a pet whilst in a relationship can boost and improve the commitment between partners. Since acquiring a pet is almost similar to having kids of their own, couples are provided with a simulation of having their own family. By training a dog as a couple or raising bunnies as pet parents, they are able to assess their partner on how well they would be as a future husband or wife.
Aside from pets strengthening a couple’s commitment, they are also able to enhance their pet owner’s empathetic abilities. In another study, results show that the degree of empathy that pet owners have is unequivocally linked to the number of years they have owned their pet. This comes in handy when couples are going through trials because they are able to deeply understand what their partner is going through.
However, Anika Cloutier, a Canadian researcher, made it clear that a partner wants a dog for the purpose of needing to care for one and not mainly for the pursuit of romance. ‘We’re definitely not recommending that pets should be adopted with the intention of repairing a relationship, they are not objects. Instead, they are something to help people,’ she explains.
Pets can also play an important role in the family, most especially children. Since children are in the earliest stage of learning and development of behaviour, having pets can help improve these phases.
Children may find solace and comfort from the warm presence of their pets. These loyal companions stick with their little buddies through thick and thin. This, in turn, has a positive effect on the children because they are given the chance to have a blanket of safety and security from their beloved animals. Having pets helps children to develop their emotional skills.
Additionally, pets teach children the basic responsibility of taking care of another living being as well as empathy. The simple routine of feeding their beloved kitty or bunny is a good start to learning and understanding the values of life, family, and camaraderie.
You may like to read:
- The 10 Best Dog Breeds for Children
- Does My Dog Love Me? The 4 Conditions on How Dogs Choose Their Person
- 5 Incredible Reasons Why You Should Let Your Dog Sleep in Your Bed