Pets: Creature Comforts is our special July publication for subscribers. Whether it’s furred or feathered, footed, finned or hooved, I don’t need to tell you that animal companions impact our human experience in ways big and small. Pets are also big business – American consumers spent some $99 billion last year on their critters, according to projections from the American Pet Products Association, about twice as much per capita as we did 30 years ago. Creature Comforts explores the myriad ways we intersect with animals, from articles about current research into pets, to product trends and profiles of Southern Californian’s unique animal culture.
The “pandemic pet” phenomenon of people adopting companions to keep them company in quarantine was much-ballyhooed, as was the fear of people abandoning those animals now that the worst (hopefully) of the plague days are behind us. Thankfully, data from across the nation shows that the latter never really panned out – but the former? That was true. Even if you, like me, already had a menagerie at home (more on that in a sec) and didn’t need to bring a new pet on board, you probably got a lot closer to your critters. Related to that, a survey conducted by Wellness Natural Pet Food recently came across my desk, and revealed some interesting attitudes among American workers:
- 53% of working pet parents would rather continue working from home with their pet than go back to work without their pet.
- 33% of pet parents say that being home with their pet is what they will miss the most about working from home – beating out sleeping in late (28%), working from the couch (24%), and wearing sweatpants (15%).
- 67% of working pet parents say they would give up any other workplace perk to be able to work with their pet every day.
- 73% of working pet parents agree that being a pet parent affects the way they work.
- 29% of working pet parents say they are more compassionate in the workplace because they are a pet parent.
- 25% of working pet parents say they are more forgiving of mistakes in the workplace because they are a pet parent.
- 25% of working pet parents say they are a more patient teacher/mentor in the workplace because they are a pet parent.
I agree with the majority of the respondents – but then, I’m already more of a pet parent than most. I spent my childhood on my aunt and uncle’s ranch, and from there the dye was cast for me as an animal lover. My family and I live in one of Southern California’s unique equestrian communities, which affords us the joy of being the stewards of many beloved creatures. Over the past year I’ve gotten used to attending staff meetings over Zoom with our two dogs at my feet, a fussy old cat at my keyboard, enjoying a happy hour with the goat out in the paddock (his name is Mikey, he likes beer), and unwinding with my lifelong favorite outdoor activity, horseback riding. It’s a “ruff” life around here, what can I say.
Anyway, we hope you enjoy these Creature Comfort stories. Let me know what you think by shooting me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org – and include a photo of your own pet if you’re so inclined. On social media, tag us @SoCalNewsGroup.
Here’s a woof and meow to you,Samantha Dunn, special projects editor