Whether a pet is a family member or “just an animal” is highly dependent on where the pet lives, according to new research out of Indiana University.
City dwellers tend to think of their dogs more as their children, while those in more rural areas tend to think of dogs as animals they enjoy in a more utilitarian, practical sense (think hunting, protection), reports USA Today.
David Blouin, the cultural sociologist behind the research, said he found that attitudes about dogs usually fell in one of three distinct categories: “Humanist, where dogs were highly valued and considered close companions, like pseudo people; protectionists might be vegetarians and they greatly valued animals in general, not just as pets; dominionists saw animals as separate and less important than people, often using the dogs for hunting and pest control and requiring them to live outdoors,” he described in a university press release.
Gotta love the “pseudo people” label!
Dogs with “humanist” people often find their status changes after the birth of a human child, Blouin found. No longer are they “surrogate children.”
I’m wondering what Dogsters think of these results? I have a feeling our Dogster constituency is made up of about 99.6% “humanists.” Do those of you in rural areas agree with the findings, or do you beg to differ? The research was based on interviews with a very small number of people, so don’t get too miffed if you don’t agree. Just add to the pool of research out there by leaving a comment!