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How our pets make us better people

Eighty percent said their pet not being judgmental has encouraged them to be less judgmental of others.

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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.

The survey of 2,000 American dog and cat owners found 34% of respondents met their significant other because of their furry friend.

And 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 because of their pet.

How are these “meet-cutes” happening? The majority of respondents (68%) said it’s easier to start a conversation once their pet has broken the ice and provided something to talk about.

Which might explain how 72% 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 results, watching their pet approach people without judgment or prejudice has encouraged 77% of respondents to do the same.

And seeing their pet approach all types of people has made 74% more aware of their own judgment and prejudice. Respondents were split by ethnicity, and white respondents were among the ones who most strongly agreed with this statement, at 83%.

“Everyone has experienced the pure and unwavering love our dogs and cats, essentially our best friends, offer,” said Michael Meyer, CEO of ‘I and love and you.’ “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.”

Seventy-seven percent of respondents said their pet has never judged them, regardless of what their pet has seen them do.

Moreover, 80% said 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% believe their four-legged companion has made them a better person. Those surveyed were also split by their sexuality, and results found queer respondents were the most likely to agree — at 90%.

Specifically, respondents said 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 said, “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 wrote, “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% 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,” said Meyer. “We challenge you to chat it up with a stranger, embrace and celebrate diversity, leave judgement at the door and strive to be an elevated version of oneself — one that would make your four-legged best friend super proud.” 

HOW HAS YOUR PET MADE YOU A BETTER PERSON?

  • They’ve helped me to become more social — 66%
  • They’ve encouraged me to be more active — 59%
  • They’ve helped me to become more open — 58%
  • Watching my pet try new things has encouraged me to do the same — 44%
  • Taking care of them has helped me to take care of myself — 26%

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