The British family has changed in modern times – with pets widely considered to be much-loved members, says new research.
Findings by Ancestry.co.uk, a family history website, show 90 percent of pet owners think of their animal as part of the family. A third (33 percent) of those claim to prefer their pets to actual members of their family, with one in six (15 percent) considering their pet more important than their cousin.
Dog owners are the most keen to make their pet a bona fide family member, with 16 percent choosing to include the animal in the 2011 census. A number of these even listed their dog as their “son” on the official form.
But this animal infatuation is by no means a 21st century phenomenon, with pets also listed in the 1911 census.
For example, Arthur and Elizabeth Delve from Smethwick found it fit to record the existence of their “faithful Irish terrier Biddy”, who, it was noted, was a “magnificent watch and a demon on cats and vermin”.
Another canine in the 1911 census is “Roger the Watchdog”, who lived in Dulwich. His journalist owner, James Little, put his age at five and listed a fitting profession of “looking after the house”.
Many British people also leave behind a more permanent token of affection. Nearly one in 10 (9 percent) of dog owners love their animal so much they plan to leave money or assets to it in their will. – Sapa-AP