Companion animals often referred to as “soul mates,” study finds

Do your female clients ever refer to the animals in their lives as "soul mates" or "made for each other?" Guess what? That's normal.

A new study, Whatisitaboutanimals, by researchers at Flinders University in Australia, sought to understand the experience people have with the animals in their lives—pets and other animals they form an attachment with—and how they value those relationships.

Approximately 6,000 people from all over the world, mostly women, took part in the study. And it turns out they value those relationships--a lot. 

The findings are being presented this week at the international Australasian Animals Studies Association Conference in Melbourne.

Pets are women’s best friends, they fall in love with them, and they use romantic language to describe the relationship, Heather Fraser, PhD, Senior Lecturer and Associate Dean from the School of Social and Policy Studies at Flinders, told PerthNow.

Those pets also become “therapy without words” for depression and anxiety, Fraser noted on the Flinders University blog and, according to many study participants, were the source of their recovery.

“Unlike many human love relationships that breakdown, sometimes very quickly, companion animals can be women’s soul mates for the long haul, in the good and bad times,” Fraser added.

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