We know Parental Unit adores us!
And we also know she's loved the many pets she's had before we came into her life.. Although she may not love us more than her other pets, she knows so much more now—we all do—about the best ways to meet our pets needs. And that wasn't talked about nearly as much, if at all, say when Parental Unit was a kid. (Well, ahem,we didn't know much about anything 100 years ago). The idea is that Parental Unit has more time now to spend with us, and makes more time to understand and meet the needs we have as distinct species.
Anyway, this article in the LATimes explores some of the reasons why it might appear that we "love" our pets more today than we did say, 50 years ago. More disposable income to spend on our furkids, and advances in veterinary medicine that allow pets to live longer, healthier lives are just two of the possible reasons many humans shower us with more attention these days...or at least appear to.
On the other hand, the associate director of the Tufts Institute for Human-Animal Interaction, Megan Mueller, says "And, yes, a lot of people talk about their animals as being member of their family, but we simply don't have a lot of research about what people's relationships were like with their companion animals 50 years ago." How about Timmy and Lassie for example—they were pretty bonded, don't you think?
We'd love to know how you feel about this issue. Are humans more closely bonded with us pets than they used to be? Do we really love each other more, or is it perhaps just a construct of the $60 billion pet industry? Hmmm.