Pets can add to happiness

I was recently reading an article in the globe and mail. Pets are an investment in happiness. “A field study demonstrated that pet owners who were randomly assigned to spend five dollars on their pet reported greater happiness than those who were assigned to spend on themselves or another person. An effect specific to feelings of happiness rather than to mood more generally. This was reported in the Journal of Positive Psychology.

I imagine this depends on what the money was used for otherwise. If I crossed the dessert, I would sooner spend five dollars on a bottle of water. Even if it was plastic.

I do keep some large carp. They might not care if I got them a little plastic castle. But if I got them five dollars of little feeder fish, they would be leaping out of the pond to get them.

My golden retrievers would be ecstatic if told them I got them a treat. As long as I was enthusiastic, and gave them attention, they would quickly forget if I gave them anything at all.

I think the point I was trying to make, is that we can justify just about anything. I prefer my own person Journal entitled Journal of Confirmation Bias. I like to read things that substantiate the way I am already thinking. I am inclined to disbelief things that do not align with the way I am already thinking.

And perhaps the definition of pet can be somewhat misleading. Any animal could be a pet. I think most people go immediately to dogs. A pet can be defined as a domestic or tamed animal kept for companionship or pleasure. Dogs seems to fit into companionship. Are cats more in the pleasure category?

Almost interestingly, psychologists have a convoluted definition for PET which I accidently googled. Positron emission tomography (PET), which is similar to the MRI, is a scanning method that enables psychologists and doctors to study the brain (or any other living tissue) without surgery. Not a great companion.

Getting back to the point, three recent studies aimed to find out how and why pet ownership benefits people psychologically. They found that Pets that fulfilled their owners’ social needs better were related to less depression, less loneliness, greater self-esteem, and greater happiness in their owners.

During these times of COVID, favorite dog types were in high demand. I did not check into cats. I visited my pet store and I did find that carp were still well stocked.

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