June 15, 2024


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Why animals are like our family

5 min read
Why animals are like our family

Why animals are like our family

There is a growing global trend to consider pets as part of the family. In fact, millions of people around the world love their pets, enjoy being with them, going for walks, playing and even talking to them. And there is evidence that suggests that attachment to pets is good for human health and even helps with community building.

More and more often, animals are included in family events and become important to all members of the family. This can be especially important in single-parent families, where a pet can be an important companion for children. Children with pets may have higher levels of empathy and self-esteem than children who do not have pets. Thinking of pets as members of the family can actually make pet care chores less stressful than those that treat pets as assets. Spending more time caring for a pet increases the attachment to that animal which in turn reduces stress among the owners.

In the research my colleagues and I have done on aging and social participation, we have analyzed a great deal to show that interactions involving pets, especially if we care about them, can have health-protective effects. Zooey (pronounced zoo-AY-uh) is the idea that pet care adda, also known as companion animals, can be good for human health. In fact, pet owners in Germany and Australia were found to visit their vet 15 percent less often annually than non-pet owners.

The majority (77%) of dog and cat owners report that their pet is a member of the family “like anyone else” (McConnell et al., 2017). A recently published paper suggests that viewing pets as part of the family has mental and physical health benefits.

There is variation in how people view their families, yet 65% report that the family is the most important social group in their lives (McConnell et al., 2019). Families can play many meaningful roles for people, but one of the most important functions from a psychological point of view is their ability to provide social support. When facing challenging periods, family members often step in with everything from listening ears to people’s problems to providing physical support that can sustain people through difficult times.

Research Framework: The general challenge and originality of this thematic issue of the journal Enhance Families Generations involves the joint exploration of two major social changes brought about by integration into animal families: first in human families and second in human-animal . relationships.

Objective: The purpose of this introduction to the thematic issue “The Place and Impact of Animals in Families” is to present the current state of knowledge on the subject, characterizing the approaches taken and how to identify blind spots and how to address them. We do.

Methodology: The article is based on a review of the literature and analysis of nearly 100 English and French language publications in the social sciences and humanities that focus on the place and impact of animals in families.

Result : The first part of the article is devoted to the analytical presentation of the literature. Among the works studied, three major ways of integrating animals into families can be identified: integration, assimilation and replacement. In addition, two types of perspectives have been favored on how to understand the My family essay in English 10 lines family in its relationship with animals: “fixist” and flexible.

The second part of the article develops a critical analysis of this research. We show that, taken as a whole, these studies produce a natural effect of the very specific animal, sociocultural and spatio-temporal realities studied. We show that this naturalization is associated with incorrect use of certain semantic categories (“companion animal,” “family pet” or simply “pet”).

It is also linked to specialized systems for the production of sociological knowledge on the placement of animals in families (based on data provided by major players in the pet industry, or built on a clear ethical basis).

healthy, emotional relationships

Many health benefits for humans occur when there is an emotional attachment to pets. And we care most about the animals we live with. For example, a study looking at dog attachment found that people tended to care for dogs in their home more than those who lived in the yard. Higher levels of attachment to dogs are associated with greater likelihood of dog walks and spending more time on those walks than people with weaker bonds with their dogs.

Pets as members of the family and community

Since many people consider pets to be part of the family, the loss of a dog or cat is often a cause of deep sadness. Replacing a missing or deceased pet is difficult for many people because the relationship between that person and the pet was specific to those individuals. The bond between humans and animals is often so strong that it is common to grieve that is similar to the feelings and behaviors associated with the loss of a human family member.

The bond between humans and animals is not only good for human health, it can also help build community. People with pets often find that activities with their companion animals build relationships with other people. Social networks developed based on shared concern over the welfare of animals can lead to increased human-human interaction, as well as activities involving pets (such as dog-walking clubs). Dog walking allows people to move out of private spaces, which may be isolated, and into public areas where interactions with neighbors and other walkers are possible.

In addition to implications about our relationships with pets, this work also has important implications for how people form meaningful relationships with people. In fact, much of the power of social engagement is subjective and resides in the minds of those who need support (Apley et al., 2007). Thus, when we offer “family” to our friends, god-parents or step-relatives, its effect is powerful and those bonds deepen. And in the case of pets, our ability to describe “family” as entities that are not only blood-relatives but also not human, reflects the flexibility of the human mind and the importance of social engagement with others in our daily lives. reflects.


The article underscores the need to develop and apply genuine sociology of family/animal relations that, on the one hand, more clearly embrace the implicit biases that have guided research to date (the three aspects of integration). An explicit position regarding the ways animals in families), and on the other hand attempts to denormalize the categories within which it is embedded, while questioning the knowledge systems within.

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