Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Jobless? Your pet still loves you

Survey says Americans are getting comfort and strength from the four-legged members of their households.

By Karen Datko Mar 3, 2010 7:53PM

poll by Catalyst Direct Inc. found that the majority of pet owners surveyed are experiencing various degrees of nervousness or stress about the economy. However, these folks don’t have to face their troubles alone:

  • 89% said their pets help them cope with the stress.
  • 83% “value the steady presence their pets provide in an uncertain economy.”
  • 86% “value their pet’s appreciation.”

But here’s the real tribute:

When asked about spending cuts, pet owners stated that they would be willing to compromise on personal purchases before cutting back on purchases for their dogs and cats: 79% would reduce spending on vacations; 77% on clothing; 49% on certain personal/family food items; 41% Internet/cable and 41% on gas.

This topic is dear to my heart. When I dealt with a long stretch of joblessness, nothing was more comforting than when my Kordell (now dearly departed) walked into my home office with tail in full swing, insisting that I scratch his head and give him a kiss on the forehead.

In a post at Recessionwire prompted by the survey, Patrycja Malinowska also chose to focus on dogs. (Note: I’m a dog person, Teresa has cats, and Donna has no pets.) Malinowska credited dogs with:

  • Providing structure. You can’t mope in bed when dogs need to go out. In my home, when 4 p.m. rolls around, Furio and Phoebe -- alerted by a very accurate internal clock -- remind me that it’s their dinnertime.
  • Providing entertainment/happiness. Your dog is easily amused, and that’s contagious. Tossing a stick in the yard is fun and it’s free. So is snuggling on the couch, Malinowska said. “Plus he’s actually happy that you’re home all day and will never ask if you’ve found a job yet,” she added.
  • Keeping you occupied. Malinowska suggested you teach your dog new tricks in your spare time. More long walks would benefit both of you.

Also, “the keeping of a dog affords and promotes socializing in people,” Sam Gosling, a University of Texas at Austin psychologist, said in an ABC News story about the differences between cat and dog owners. (Dog owners are smarter and better looking. Just kidding.)


Finally, Malinowska said, your dog never gives up. That's a helpful example. “You may be losing confidence, but your dog never doubts that you will always find a way to take care of him,” she said.


If you’re feeling insecure or worse about the economy, is your pet helping you cope? Would you sacrifice to keep the pet in your home? Have you had to give up a pet because of your financial circumstances?


Or do you think we doting pet owners have misplaced values?


Related reading:

Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


Smart Spending brings you the best money-saving tips from MSN Money and the rest of the Web. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.