A recently published study in Australia found that pets help connect people within communities:
“We found that people who had a pet were more likely, than those who didn’t own a pet, to get to know people in their neighbourhood that they didn’t know before,” says [Associate Professor Lisa Wood from the University of Western Australia’s School of Population Health], adding that people from all walks of life were brought together.
“The great thing about pets is they are a really great leveller.”
And it went beyond pets breaking the ice and leading to a simple wave or a chat.
“Having a pet can actually lead to more meaningful relationships between people,” says Wood.
She and colleagues found 42 per cent of pet owners received practical or emotional support from others they had met through their pets.
And a more tightly knit community benefits everyone:
If you’ve got a street where dog owners help each other, they may be more likely to keep an eye on others in the street as well, whether they own pets or not, says Wood.
“There seems to be a ripple effect.”
What are your experiences? Have you received support from someone in your community whom you met via a pet? Do you perceive a ripple effect within your community stemming from relationships established via pets? What other community benefits have you observed which you believe originated from the presence of pets? Does your local shelter maintain a strong presence in the community in order to protect and promote animal welfare and the subsequent benefits to people?