Have you ever heard the theory that pets and their owners look alike?
Lately I have started testing this theory by paying a bit more attention to the other dog owners I come across, especially during recent walks.
First, there is the tall beautiful athletic brunette woman and her beautiful athletic husky, out for their without-fail exercise. And there was the burly gentleman and his stocky barrell-chested rottweiler striding down the street. Then I noticed the woman with curly hair, out for her power walk in her track suit, her well-groomed standard poodle trotting along beside her, never wavering from the path or even stopping to pee. And I started to think about how the owners and pets not only resembled each other, but seemed to act a bit alike.
Then I looked down at my slightly goofy, happy, friendly yellow lab companion. Besides those initial traits, I realized that we are both casual and kind of sporty, and both have dirty blonde hair. Our walks are not precise or swift. They are more like strolls on a whim. We go where the mood strikes, wandering back and forth across the street, sometimes walking, sometimes jogging, sometimes heading off into the field. We are both easily distracted by shiny things – or in his case, furry things like squirrels and bunnies. And I started to laugh – at that moment, we seemed to be two peas in a pod. (He of course looked up at me with a “now what?” expression.)
I began to wonder how this happens. Do we naturally but unknowingly choose pets that are the most similar to ourselves? Could there be some sort of cosmic connection when a stray pet chooses us? Or is it like with married partners, we over time become more alike?
A psychologist by the name of Dr. Lance Workman did studies of British pet owners several years ago, and determined that for a large part, people really do look like their dogs – because we are drawn to pets with similar physical attributes. He more recently did a follow up study regarding whether or not pets and owners actually acted alike.
In his presentation of his findings, he indicated that “It could be that when you look for a dog, on some level that is largely subconscious, you look for something that is a bit like you. It is a bit like looking for a romantic partner; if they fit in, they will probably last.” Interestingly, his study showed that contrary to popular assumption that toy dog owners are airheads, they actually came out on top with openness, creativity and intelligence. He sited that Isaac Newton had a Pomeranian – because it was easy to handle and left his mind free for other things.
Those of you reading this who are NOT pet owners will no doubt think I’ve gone crazy. But those of you who ARE pet owners are now looking in the mirror, then at your pet, wondering if you too make a matched set. By the way, you cat owners out there are not excluded in this. Cats are 90% personality – how closely does that personality match your own?
Sure, we silly pet owners tend to project human expressions and feelings upon our animals. We certainly spoil them and treat them like members of the family. When it comes down to it as a matter of fact, we treat them like we imagine we’d like to be treated if we were them….. huh. Go figure.
In the group of photos below, one is a well-known celebrity, one is me…and the rest are unknown brave souls who have shared their images on the internet. If any of you, dear readers, would be willing to send me a photo of you and your furry companion, I’d be thrilled to share it in a future post.