Dogs are the purest beings in this world, and yes, I’m including Beyoncé so don’t ask. They’re our confidantes, our companions, and most importantly, they listen to all our problems without judgment because they don’t have a very good grasp on English beyond “no,” “stay,” “seriously, no, I mean it,” and “pizza.” Every living being understands pizza.
So is it any wonder, I ask you, that kids have been scientifically proven to have better relationships with their pet than with their siblings? The correct answer is no. If you ask literally anyone on this planet if they’d rather hang out with their pet or another human being, they’re obviously going to pick Colonel Fluffington.
In a study published in the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, researchers from the University of Cambridge surveyed 77 12-year-old children about their family relationships. Each household included at least one other child and a family pet. When researchers looked for trends in their results, they found that the kids reported stronger relationships with their pets than their siblings. Considering pets like to snuggle and/or purr while siblings like to punch each other in the stomach and/or steal each other’s clothes, I think we can safely agree that science is on to something here.
Dogs apparently made the best pets; kids reported less conflict and more satisfaction with them than any other kind of pet. I repeat: Dogs are the purest beings in the universe. The study also found that compared to boys, girls had more tumultuous relationships with their pets, reporting both more companionship and more conflict. Maybe they’re practicing for appearing on The Bachelor one day?
Anyway, the researchers were stoked about their findings because it shows that non-humans can serve as social support, and prior research says the same thing. One 2015 study even found that having a pet can help you make friends with actual humans, mostly because you wind up talking to all the people who want to pet your dog. It’s a win-win, except for the part about having to talk to people.
P.S. If you were wondering whether this entire article was an excuse for dog GIFs, you’re absolutely right.