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What Your Pet Says About You

December 23, 2010 | 18,398 views
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man with Pet bird

Careerbuilder.com sponsored a recent online survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, to determine trends in pet ownership as it relates to certain professions, annual salaries, and level of job satisfaction. The survey polled a limited sampling of 2,300 full-time employees in the U.S. who are also pet owners.

Survey results indicate that:

  • Employees in top level positions (CEOs or senior vice presidents) are primarily dog owners.
  • Snake and other reptile owners are among the highest paid workers, earning six figure salaries.
  • Bird owners are most likely to be satisfied with their jobs.

When it comes to career choices, the survey revealed some interesting trends:

  • Entertainers, IT professionals, those in the military, nurses and professors are more likely dog owners.
  • Doctors, lab techs, machine operators, personal caretakers and realtors tend to have cats as pets.
  • People working in the financial field, hotel and leisure industry, in farming/fishing/forestry careers, human resources and transportation are more likely to own fish.
  • Editors and writers, engineers, marketing and PR professionals, law enforcement officers and social workers prefer reptiles as pets.
  • Bird owners are found in administrative jobs, advertising, construction and sales.

Dr. Becker's Comments:

My bet is most of you could flip the Careerbuilder survey results on their head just by polling your own family, friends and co-workers. I know I could.

I’m not convinced surveys that attempt to measure people, for whatever reason, by the type of pet they own or don’t own are useful or even accurate. But they’re certainly entertaining …

Pet Product Marketers Want Inside Your Head

Because pet owners are big business, University of Oregon business administration grad students, led by the head of the marketing department, quizzed over 650 pet owners to see if they could determine what a person’s choice of pet says about them.

The survey polled 417 pet owners and 240 non-owners. Of the pet owners, some of whom had more than one pet, there were 296 dog owners, 226 cat owners, 37 bird owners, 63 fish owners, 19 rabbit owners, 15 mouse owners, and 7 reptile owners.

A few curious takeaways from their questionnaire:

  • Dog owners are more honest, religious and duty bound than people who don’t have a dog.
  • Cat people are loners who are less religious than non-cat owners, want instant gratification, are satisfied with their jobs and are socially conscious.
  • Fish owners are the most engaging of all pet owners. They are optimistic and hopeful, non-materialistic, and introverted.

If You Were a Dog, Which Breed Would You Be?

According to a Forbes.com article on dog breed ownership, “You can pick up after your pooch and make sure he plays nice, but it's your dog's breed that truly speaks volumes about what kind of owner you are.”

Here’s what Forbes thinks of you based on the breed of your pup:

  • Beagle owners are inquisitive, willing to learn new things, willful, loyal and stubborn.
  • If you own a Cocker Spaniel you’re family oriented, nurturing, gentle, playful and affectionate.
  • Owners of Golden Retrievers are social butterflies.
  • Chihuahua parents are high-energy mischief makers.
  • If your first furry love is a Poodle, you are detail-oriented with an appreciation for art and culture.

Show Me Your Cat and I’ll Tell You Who You Are

According to the Cat Fanciers Association, it’s assumed certain types of people gravitate to certain breeds of cat. A few examples:

  • Persian cat owners are homebodies.
  • Siamese cats are owned by people who are great communicators.
  • Calico and tortoiseshell cat owners are family-oriented with beautifully appointed homes.
  • People who love Maine Coons tend to be family-oriented as well, and loyal.
  • Abyssinian owners are flexible and creative.
  • Burmese cat lovers like to relax and entertain at home.
  • Russian Blue and American shorthair cat owners are independent and self-reliant, but also affectionate.

How You Care for Your Pet is What Counts

In my opinion, surveys, myth and legend about pets as predictors of career success or indicators of who we are as human beings are more amusing than helpful.

It may be true most CEO’s prefer dogs over cats or people who own fish are optimistic, but in my experience, that’s not the importance of pet ownership.

What’s significant from my perspective as a veterinarian and animal advocate is each pet owner’s commitment to the health and well-being of their animal companion.

So whether you’re a snake enthusiast earning six figures, a parrot loving advertising executive or a Burmese cat owner who enjoys entertaining at home, my wish for you is a long, loving association with the precious creature in your care.

[+] Sources and References