Survey: Being raised with pets could make you successful


Want your kids to grow to be successful in business? Get them a dog. It’s cheaper than putting them through Harvard Business School.

At least, that’s one possible conclusion from a new survey by Banfield Pet Hospital on the relationship between pet ownership and professional success. An astonishing 93% of C-suite executives—people who hold positions like CEO or CFO—who answered the survey grew up with a pet, with 78% of them giving their childhood pet credit for helping prepare them for successful careers, and 24% agreed that owning a pet as a child taught them more about leadership, responsibility, and empathy than their first professional internship.

These captains of industry also credited their childhood pets with helping to develop leadership skills such as discipline (92%), organization (79%), and the ability to identify and anticipate the needs of others (38%).

Other valuable skills credited to owning a pet include better time management, multitasking, and the ability to stick to a schedule or routine (86%). Perhaps most important are the people skills they learned from pets, with 62% of C-suite executives surveyed saying that they believe pets had a positive impact on their ability to build relationships with coworkers and clients.

But you don’t necessarily need a dog to prepare you for the dog-eat-dog world of business: Although the survey found four in five C-suite executives grew up with a dog, almost three in five grew up with a cat and nearly two in five grew up with other kinds of pets such as birds, rabbits, or rodents.

That childhood pets can have an impact on later career success isn’t too surprising given what we know about the special nature of the human-animal bond, says Brian Garish, president of Banfield Pet Hospital.

“From the pet ownership lessons we learned as children to the ways our four-legged friends currently help us evolve, connect with others, and stay grounded, our latest research supports the notion we’ve had all along—there may be a link between pets and their ability to help shape us as people,” Garish said.

And the business perks of pet ownership don’t stop at childhood: Most of the C-suite executives surveyed also own pets currently, and nearly three quarters reported that they regularly come up with business ideas while walking their dog. Plus, 93% said their pets helped them to relax and reduce stress once the workday was over.

Even people who have never owned a pet can enjoy the workplace benefits of adopting one now: Of the people surveyed, 80% said they felt more connected to colleagues who own pets, and 79% believe that colleagues with pets are hard workers.

Photo credit: © iStock/Anzhelika Voloshyna

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