Would You Choose Your Pet Over Your Partner?

This is an excellent article from Paw Nation.
by Josh Loposer (Subscribe to Josh Loposer’s posts)
Jan 27th 2011 @ 6:00AM Filed Under: Dogs

woman with dogUMBRELLA SHOT, Flickr

Many pet rescue and adoption advocates live by the motto “Pets are for life.” But what if your pet is unintentionally driving a wedge between you and your love life?

A new AP-Petside poll found that, when forced to choose, as many as 14 percent of current pet owners would tell their spouses or significant others to hit the road rather than ditch their pets. When it comes to unmarried pet owners, the numbers skew slightly more in favor of pets — 25 percent.

The majority of those surveyed in the AP-Petside poll agree with Montreal resident Sarah Licha, who would choose a partner first. Licha tells Paw Nation, “If one really questions the choice between a pet and a human being, he should seriously consider therapy!”

Still, throngs of pet lovers appear to value their relationships with pets over people. We asked Paw Nation readers what they thought, and after talking to a number of pet owners about this deeply philosophical question, we too found that a surprising number of people would unequivocally choose the company of Fido or Fluffy over the prospect of romantic fulfillment. However, their reasons may not be exactly what you think.

Love Me, Love My Pets
One common attitude we found during our unofficial survey was that for animal lovers, pets are an essential part of their lifestyle. Many people involved in rescue and foster organizations feel that pets are just part of who they are — and if a partner can’t accept that, then it just isn’t meant to be.

Pamela Epstein and her buddy Bowser.

Paw Nation Facebook friend Dorothy Baxter explains why it’s important for people to understand that she and her pets are a package deal. “I have five rescued dogs, and my babies are most important,” Baxter says. “If I spend my life without a significant other, so be it. My dogs come first. Plus they don’t cheat on me as the ex did! The only thing good about the ex was he didn’t chew on the couch.”

Unfailing Loyalty
Let’s face it, as Baxter points out, one of the most comforting aspects of pet ownership is the fact that your dog or cat is there for you when the going gets tough, no matter what. Pamela Epstein of Brooklyn, NY says she would choose her French bulldog, Bowser, because he “loves me unconditionally and is my best friend. He never judges me and is always there for me.

“Although, these attributes can hold true in a relationship,” Epstein tells Paw Nation. “Often times they don’t. The bond between Bowser and me is absolutely unbreakable.”

Attitudes Reveal a Great Deal
For pet owners like Linda Reilly, the way a person bonds (or fails to bond) with an animal says a lot about his or her character. Not to mention, many dog and cat owners put a lot of stock in their pets’ intuition.

“My rationale is simple,” Reilly tells Paw Nation. “If the person who wants to be with you is not going to put that same effort into getting to know and love your cats, it seems they may not put in the love needed to blossom a relationship. Your cat or dog, for that matter, can also be a good judge of character and weed out those people that are not animal lovers.”

Amber Imberi and her dog, Lord.

Pets Are Family
Though some trusted their cats’ abilities to judge a person’s intentions, others simply look at their animals as family and refuse to treat them as an optional part of their lives. Paw Nation Facebook friend Kristen Salgado puts it this way: “When I adopt an animal, I am committed to caring for it for the rest of its life. Many people view pets as objects they can just ‘buy’ and then throw out if need be. It’s not OK! People, if your significant other ever tells you to get rid of your pet(s) … they’re not good enough for you!”

In fact, dog lover Amber Imberi says she got her dog, Lord, in a breakup after attempting a sort of joint-custody agreement — a dog that her ex originally brought into the relationship! “We did the ‘I have him for a while and you get him for this week’ and so on,” Imberi tells Paw Nation. “But I ended up with him and have loved every minute of having my boy.”

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