Another Sign That Pets Are Family

Another Sign That Pets Are Family

Last year I wrote about the Nissan SUV specifically designed for taking your dog to the park, complete with doggie ramp, dog wash system, auto treat dispenser and doggie cam to keep an eye on them while you drive. What’s next?

A whopping 89 percent of millennials who bought a home in 2018 own a pet. For this demographic, 79 percent of pet-owning homebuyers who closed on a house said they would pass up on an otherwise perfect home if it did’t meet the needs of their pets! I know this first hand because my son and his wife bought a home in Denver last month, and when describing the houses they put bids on, practically the first words out of their mouths each time were, “the dogs will love the big fenced-in back yard.”

Millennials are having a love affair with their pets, and I think there are sociologic reasons for this that we’ll cover later. But if you think this just pertains to snuggly puppies, you’re wrong. Realtors I know have told me that cat-owning homebuyers walking through properties will often remark to each other that “this nook is the perfect location for the litter box”, or “this little room will be where the cat climbing tree will go.” Owners with older pets have concerns about steep flights of stairs. Urban buyers who don’t have cars think about proximity to pet-friendly restaurants, stores, and pet supply centers as one of their priorities.

Then once the house is purchased, they often put big bucks into upgrades for their pets. Putting up new fences around the back yard, installing invisible fences around the front yard, installing pet doors, moving furniture near front windows so the pets can watch for them to come home, creating hidden cat runways between floors, and on and on. New home builders with pets are even thinking to have a small pet washing station built into the mud room!

What’s behind this focus on pet accommodation and comfort that our parents, and especially grand parents, could not even begin to understand. My grand parents would certainly have been perplexed, and frankly would have thought I had lost my mind. So what’s the difference between then and now?

Just one to two generations ago, people belonged to bowling leagues, the Elks, Moose, and Eagles Clubs, card clubs, played bingo, joined social and country clubs, and any number of other social activities out side the home. They looked forward to these interactive nights out the way we anticipate our favorite series of shows on TV. That’s the difference. With every adult working longer days, or two jobs, when we finally make it home, interacting with our anxiously waiting pets and enjoying home time is why pets now play such an important role in our social and mental health. We enjoy our families AND our pets like they are family.

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