Man’s best friend? Dogs more valued family members than mothers-in-law

Posted by on Thursday, May 21st, 2015 in Blog, Pet Stories

Man’s best friend? Dogs more valued family members than mothers-in-law

22 per cent of people question chose their dogs

12:01AM BST 13 Apr 2015

They have been a staple of British humour for generations.

But now the nation’s mothers-in-law have suffered what could be the worst indignity yet after having their place in family life officially supplanted – by the dog.

A poll has found that, for many British people, pets are more important members of the family than the in-laws.

The finding emerges from research carried out for the retailer Matalan as part of its “Made for Modern Families” marketing campaign.

The study highlights how family life is rapidly changing in 21st Century Britain with the traditional image of a family with 2.4 children a thing of the past for most.

But the polling found that the importance of family is as strong as ever.

When participants were asked what was their most important priority for their family only one in six per cent selected “having enough money” and no-one chose “having the latest products”.

Meanwhile the most popular answer was simply “their happiness”, chosen by 35 per cent.

The second most common response, chosen by more than a quarter, was “their health”.

But participants were decidedly less charitable when it came to the question of their in-laws.

When asked to choose who they would consider to be “close family members” from a list of options, only 21 per cent opted for their parents in law.

But 22 per cent selected their pet or pets.

By contrast more than six in 10 opted for their spouse or partner, jointly the most popular option with brothers and sisters.

Mark Earls, a behaviour expert, said: “Pets really add to the richness of the modern family and are considered just as important as close relatives and friends.

“Dogs are more like us than many other pets – they’re social creatures who appreciate being part of a family and those who look after them.”

He added: “Contrary to those who have bemoaned the decline of the family as a key pillar of our society, family is alive and well – it just comes in many more different shapes and sizes than it used to including the ‘blended’ or ‘Brady Bunch’ family, which consists of one or more adults with their own children and those from previous relationships.

“Ultimately, what we want for our families is what we’ve always wanted for those we love – health and happiness.

“However much the shape and the structures and the participants shift, it seems these same old truths abide.

“The family is here to stay.”

Jason Hargreaves, Managing Director of Matalan, said: “Family life has changed dramatically since we first opened our doors 30 years ago.

“The demands on parents and families are greater than ever as time is precious, life is faster and pockets are pinched.

“Family is at the heart of our business and we are committed to being there to help families, whatever their makeup or wherever they’re from, in everything we do.”

Read More: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalists/john-bingham/11531191/Mans-best-friend-Dogs-more-valued-family-members-than-mothers-in-law.html

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