This is Faye. She wanted to bring a little sunshine into your life. Heard it can help with the happiness. 14/10 thank you so much Faye pic.twitter.com/xVB12MOX86
— WeRateDogs™ (@dog_rates) April 3, 2019
Because even the trained professionals get tired sometimes, the Washington Post (nb: business section) goes for the clickbait — “Dog owners are much happier than cat owners, survey finds”:
The well-respected survey that’s been a barometer of American politics, culture and behavior for more than four decades finally got around to the question that has bedeviled many a household.
Dog or cat?
In 2018, the General Social Survey for the first time included a battery of questions on pet ownership. The findings not only quantified the nation’s pet population — nearly 6 in 10 households have at least one —they made it possible to see how pet ownership overlaps with all sorts of factors of interest to social scientists.
For starters, there is little difference between pet owners and non-owners when it comes to happiness, the survey shows. The two groups are statistically indistinguishable on the likelihood of identifying as “very happy” (a little over 30 percent) or “not too happy” (in the mid-teens).
But when you break the data down by pet type — cats, dogs or both — a stunning divide emerges: Dog owners are about twice as likely as cat owners to say they’re very happy, with people owning both falling somewhere in between…
If you read the article (there are graphs!), the author *does* discuss most of the predictable variables. People who live with dogs (and respond to surveys) can afford to spend more on a ‘luxury’, and are more likely to own their own homes. And they’re healthy enough to walk the dog on a regular basis, or they live with another person who can do so, or they can pay someone for the chores (social interactions being one of those generic ‘makes humans more happy’ markers).
But they missed one of my personal biases: I’ve always thought people who lived with dogs-but-not-cats tend to be the sort of people who regard ‘happiness’ as the baseline human condition — they consider themselves ‘happy’ unless they’ve got a particular problem right at the moment they’re asked. People who live with cats-not-dogs, on the other hand, are generally people who assume that ‘happiness’ is a special blessing to be enjoyed when it happens… not something that can be taken for granted. As the cliche has it, your dog loves you because dogs love, whereas your cat loves you (if you’ve earned their love) because the cat chooses to love you.
(And, of course, people who live with both are comfortable with contradictions!)