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Dogs and Cats Listen Better than Husbands and Wives

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by hearit

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In The News

One-third, or 33%, of pet-owning married women in the U.S. said their pets are better listeners than their husbands, says a poll from the AP. 18% of pet-owning married men said their pets are better listeners than their wives (which still seems to present the idea that wives are 15% better listeners than their male counterparts).
Christina Holmdahl, 40, says she talks frequently to her cat, two dogs or three horses about her husband, naturally. "Whoever happens to be with me when I'm rambling," said Holmdahl, stationed with her husband at Fort Stewart in Georgia. "A lot of times, I'm just venting about work or complaining about the husband." She thinks everyone should have a pet to talk to like her horse, Whistle, who's been with her since she was 19. "We all say things we don't mean when we are upset about stuff," Holmdahl said. "When we have time to talk it out and rationalize it, we can think about it better and we can calm down and see both sides better."
It's a toss-up whether Bill Rothschild would take a problem to his wife of 19 years or the animal he considers a pet a palm-sized crayfish named Cray Aiken. His daughter brought it home four years ago at the end of a second grade science project. Rothschild, 44, of Granite Springs, New York, considers Cray a better listener than his wife, "absolutely. She doesn't listen worth anything."; the fish, on the other hand, doesn't have much choice. "You definitely feel much more comfortable sharing your problems with them," he said. "A little lick from a big dog can go a long way."
Overall, about one in 10 pet owners, or 10% of people polled, said they would talk their troubles over with their pets. The AP poll also found that most people believe their pets are stable (since they wouldn't know otherwise) and that those pets seldom struggle with depression (maybe because they don't have larger brains, to mull things over). Just 5% of all pet owners said they had taken an animal to a veterinarian or pet psychologist because it seemed depressed, fewer yet had given antidepressants to a pet. Not that pet owners are opposed to the idea of antidepressants: 18% polled said they were at least somewhat likely to take their pet to a vet or pet psychologist-if it was dejected.
In the category of pets as 'therapists', dogs win. 25% of dog owners said their canine buddies listened better than a spouse, while only 14% of cat owners chose the feline. Veterinarian Karen Sueda, of Los Angeles VCA, and a behavioral therapist says she thinks everyone talks to their animals. "Pets are great because they provide us with unconditional support. They never talk back, never give us the wrong opinion and they are always there for us," she said. "As much as we love our spouses or significant others, sometimes they are not there, sometimes they have their own thoughts about how we should deal with situations. And sometimes, especially when it's a husband or male significant other, they want to solve the problem rather than just listening to the problem."
1,112 pet owners were interviewed for the AP poll nationwide, with a sampling error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points. All in all, pretty right on.

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