Dog lovers report being as attached to their pooches on a series of standard
relationship measures as they are to their mothers, siblings and significant
others, and even closer to them than to their fathers. The most striking results
came from those most attached to their pets, but even among a general sample of
111 college students living with dogs, people say they crave their dog's company
as much as some family members.
Uh - not what I expected to find this morning as I searched for a nice Father's Day post. However, in the interests of social and cultural inquiry, I'll go ahead and talk about the study Professor Larry Kurdek published this past April in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. Long story short, for lots of folks, pets aren't just family members, they're preferred family members. It's possible that people are more emotionally attached to their dogs than their dads because dogs are full of unconditional love, while fathers are not so often perceived that way. Other side of the coin: Middle-aged men often seem hardest hit when a pet is euthanized.
Story link here. Citation abstract here, just because. And my best wishes to dads everywhere.