Why Victorians are a pet-loving lot

EIGHTY per cent of Victorians living with pets believe their animals are vital to their happiness, according to a study released this week.

The Study of Pet Companionship found that Victorians without children placed the greatest emphasis on the animals in their lives, with 81 per cent of respondents valuing the contribution of their scaled, furry and feathered loved ones as crucial. This was compared to 67 per cent of married respondents or 59 per cent who had children.

The study findings rang true for Flora Hill resident Jarrod Martin, who dotes on three-year-old pet dachshund, Delilah. “She’s part of the family,” he said.

Delilah accompanies Mr Martin to work every day at Mirridong Aged Care, where she and another visiting dog have become favourites among residents.

“I’m the maintenance guy there and she will follow me around on the job,” he said. “The residents really appreciate what she brings to the place.”

La Trobe University psychological science Associate Professor Pauleen Bennett said Australia had one of the highest rates of pet ownership, with an estimated 33 million domestic animals.

“This study confirms just how important our pets are to us. Not only do they provide unconditional love and companionship, they boost our happiness.”

The study’s release coincides with the launch of Colgate’s Smile for Change pet gallery. Pet lovers can support the cause by sharing photos of their pets online at www.facebook.com/ColgateAustralia

Colgate will donate $1 for every photo uploaded to The Smith Family to help disadvantaged children. Two photos each week will win a $100 Petbarn voucher. 

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