In recent years, researchers have found that communities that are home to a large concentration of pet owners are actually stronger, tighter-knit, and healthier than those that are not. The reasons for this are simple: in addition to encouraging physical activity and better health, pets also create bubbles of community in which people meet, bond, and form friendships, resulting in stronger communities and better neighborhoods.
Pets Encourage People to get outside
If you are a pet parent, it is pretty tough to come home from work and land on the couch. Dogs need to be walked or played with after being inside all day, and the simple act of loving a pet encourages people to get up and go outside when they otherwise might not. By consequence, an area that has many people walking their dogs will also need a wide variety of walking trails, dog-friendly parks, and community roadways with sidewalks, benches, and shade. All of these things contribute to healthier neighborhoods, beautiful surroundings, and more active residents.
Pets Encourage Bonding between Strangers
Anyone who has ever taken their pet to a park or pet-focused group understands that like-minded people tend to stick together. Pet parents who enroll their pets in shows, functions, obedience classes, or games will quickly meet other like-minded pet parents with similar interests. This creates friendships, which serves to enhance communities and create a stronger patchwork of people.
Pets are Often the Focus of Community Activities
People love their pets and, when there are enough pet-lovers in an area, they will begin to rally together to create community-based, pet-centered activities. Community events such as K-9 9-K races (within which people run a 9K with their dogs for charity), Halloween pet dress-up events, or even “dog proms” are common in active, pet-focused communities. In addition to serving all the purposes of creating new friendships, encouraging new bonds and promoting physical activity, these events also provide charitable opportunities and opportunities for community enhancement.
In addition to being a friendlier, nicer place to live, communities with a high concentration of dedicated pet parents are also healthier, more beautiful, and tighter-knit than those with few or no pet parents. Aside from simply encouraging people to get outside and meet their neighbors, pets also act as a force for community involvement, road and trail beautification, and even charitable endeavors. People who own pets are generally happier and healthier than those that do not, and friendships borne from similar pet-focused interests have the potential to be long lasting and enjoyable for everyone involved.
We have always known that owning a pet provides many benefits for the pet parent as an individual. In addition to lowering blood pressure and providing a constant companion, pet ownership creates calmer, more centered people. Now we are learning, however, that communities with a high concentration of pets are actually stronger than those without furry friends.