Does your current pet mean more to you now than the pet you had as a child?
If you answered yes, then you are among the sixty percent who say their attitude towards pets has changed considerably. According to a new survey by Kelton Research, three out of five people said they are more caring towards their pets than their parents were, in fact eighty percent of the pet owners polled, said they consider their pets as family members.
Within the past twenty years, more and more pet parents are treating their fur babies as their children. Singles are more likely to admit they “baby” their pet, sixty-six percent of singles treating their pet as a full-blown family member are women. Young married couples with young children are more likely to elevate a pet to the status of family member. Perhaps the most striking thing to come out of this research, is that fifty-one percent of the pet owners who treat their pet as a family member, say they celebrate their pet’s birthday, and ninety-four percent plan to professionally bury or cremate their pet with forty-one percent saying they will hold a celebration of their pet’s life.
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This increase in our love for pets as part of the family is evident in the number of specialized stores and services popping up. In Edmonton, Doggy style Deli sells human-grade meals and snacks for dogs and offers a full service, eat-in birthday party with all the trimmings. An increasing number of hotels now offer pet-friendly rooms and for the sixty-two percent of pet-parents who don’t vacation with their pet babies, Calico Hills Kitty Lodge and Posh Pooch Hotel & Daycare guarantee your fur-baby will have a purr-fectly tail-wagging stay.
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No pet-owner wants to think about losing their pet however, when the time comes, Monkeybear Chaplain Services offers ceremonial services for burials and memorials while Part of the The Family Pet Memorial Centre provides full service pet burial and cremation. Ann Richman, an Animal Chaplain Novitiate with Monkeybear Chaplain Services, is completing her certification with The Emerson Theological Institute of Oakhurst, CA, the World’s first theology school to offer an animal spiritualality curriculum. Ann’s most sought after service of grief support reflects the changing attitudes of pet owners in how they see pets as being a valuable member of the family. She believes that, “Most people feel very isolated in their grief in the loss of a pet because they are often met with the, “it’s just a dog” response. I have found that just letting people talk about their grief and talk about their pet helps them so much in their grief process …it is important to honor and treat the loss of a pet just like you would any other loss. It’s important to talk about your pet and your grief. If you have children, it’s important to let them talk about your pet even if it hurts because they need to talk to help them get through the grief process.”
Pet supplies and services in Canada is a $1.1 billion industry and forecasted to become one of the top five growth industries within the next three years. Whether it’s a need by humans to extend the already extended family, gratification for unconditional love, or simply a greater awareness for caring and nurturing, whatever the reason, our pets will certainly continue to become an integral part of our lives.
This article was brought to you by Mandy Smallwood.