Four in 10 individuals say that the loss of a childhood pet from injury, disease or old age continues to affect them as adults. An even greater number of adults (44.4%) note that they are still affected by a pet that was given away, ran away or had an uncertain disposition.
These were the major findings of "People, Pets and the World We Share," a survey conducted by American Humane Association's Animal Welfare Research Institute to examine the lasting impact a pet has on a child and the remarkable bond and loyalty they share. Based on an email survey sent to its nationwide database of supporters and Facebook followers, respondents were asked to remember one animal from their childhood in answering the questions.
Dogs were by far the most popular childhood pet remembered, accounting for over 70 percent of responses. Cats were second at 23.8%, with the remaining including a myriad of animals including horses, rabbits and hamsters. 93.2% respondents were women, 44.8% were 30-49 years old, 43.2% over 50 with 12% under the age of 30.
"Experiences with a childhood pet remain throughout a person's lifetime and showcase the transformative power of the human-animal bond and the amazing role that animals play in the lives of children," says Dr. Robin Ganzert, President and CEO of American Humane Association.
For many children, the passing of an animal might be their first experience dealing with the death of a member of their family. Also illuminating is how parents of the respondents were remembered depending on the parents' involvement with the loss of a pet.
To see the full study, go to: http://www.americanhumane.org/people-pets-and-the-world-we.pdf