NEW YORK — If dating apps aren’t leading to a successful relationship, you might be barking up the wrong tree — new research shows adopting a pet might be a better way to go. A survey of 2,000 American dog and cat owners found 34 percent of respondents met their significant other because of their furry friend.
It’s not just romantic love people are finding as a result of their four-legged pals – results also found one in three respondents (32%) met their best friend thanks to their pet. How are these “meet-cutes” happening? The majority of respondents (68%) say it’s easier to start a conversation once their pet has broken the ice and provided something to talk about.
This might explain how 72 percent of those surveyed have struck up a conversation with someone specifically because of their pet — and for those, it happens an average of 172 times per year.
Commissioned by “I and love and you,” a holistic pet food brand that creates nutritious meals for dogs and cats, and conducted by OnePoll, the survey indicates that our pets aren’t just helping us meet new people, but also different kinds of people. According to the results, watching their pet approach people without judgment or prejudice has encouraged 77 percent of respondents to do the same.
Also, seeing their pet approach all types of people has made 74 percent more aware of their own judgment and prejudice. White respondents were most likely to agree with this statement, at 83 percent.
“Everyone has experienced the pure and unwavering love our dogs and cats, essentially our best friends, offer,” says Michael Meyer, CEO of “I and love and you,” in a statement. “As a holistic pet food brand dedicated to strengthening the bond between pet and owner, we recognize the importance of learning valuable lessons from the ways our pets approach the world.”
Judgment-free pet zone
Seventy-seven percent say their pet has never judged them, regardless of what their pet has seen them do.
Moreover, 80 percent say their pet not being judgmental has encouraged them to be less judgmental of others. Black respondents were among the most likely to agree with that statement (90%) — with white respondents not far behind (87%).
Perhaps, then, it makes sense that 80 percent believe their four-legged companion has made them a better person. Researchers also split respondents up by sexuality, revealing that LGBTQ respondents were the most likely to agree — at 90 percent.
Specifically, respondents believe their pet has helped them to become more social (66%), more active (59%), and more open (58%). When asked to give specific examples of how their pet has made them a better person, one respondent says, “Sometimes I feel like not getting up anymore… But having to take care of these animals has helped me continue to get up and keep moving.”
Another writes, “Seeing my pet just be a pet, as corny as it may sound, something about the innocence, the purity, opens my heart beyond something indescribable. I feel a warmth in my core, like I [want to] do better for her.”
Pets help bring out the best in humans, which might be why 78 percent of respondents agree: the world would be a better place if we could view it through our pet’s eyes.
“We see these survey results as an opportunity for us to better ourselves by taking a page from our pet’s handbook,” Meyer says. “We challenge you to chat it up with a stranger, embrace and celebrate diversity, leave judgment at the door and strive to be an elevated version of oneself — one that would make your four-legged best friend super proud.”