I then went looking for more hard data — and I found some in the research of Jack Levin (owns a Coton de Tulear, which he says looks like him) and his North­eastern Uni­ver­sity col­league, Arnie Arluke (three cats). They pre­sented a paper last August to the Amer­ican Soci­o­log­ical Asso­ci­a­tion. Of the 240 18-​​to-​​25-​​year-​​olds sam­pled, more showed con­cern for the wel­fare of a dog than that of a human, but only if the person was an adult. Levin told me that when someone of a more tender age was sub­sti­tuted: “It’s fair to say a young child and a dog get the same amount of sym­pathy.” The same amount!

Levin believes it’s explained by the vul­ner­a­bility or inno­cence of the victim, which makes sense. He fur­ther sug­gested that we anthro­po­mor­phize our pets, con­sid­ering them part of our family. True enough, but Puppy Doe wasn’t the pet of the masses of people who ral­lied for her.

Read the article at The Boston Globe →