I don't care what the number say, all I know is what is true in my heart.

According to a new study by researchers at Michigan State University our pets may not have as big an impact on our lives than we originally thought; at least that's what the numbers say.

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Hey, I'm just the messenger!

I'm sure if you went around the office and started randomly polling your coworkers on whether or not they believe their household pets improve their quality of life the answer would be a resounding: YES.

But that's not what these numbers show.

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The Method:

According to an article in MSU Today, researchers at Michigan State conducted this study during the Covid-19 pandemic to gain better understanding of pets and their positive impacts on their humans-- or lack thereof.

767 people were assessed over three periods in May 2020. Researchers used several different indicators to see whether the species of the pet or even the number of pets in the household made a difference but they kept ending up at the same conclusion: it doesn't!

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Key Takeaways:

What I find most astounding and peculiar in this study is the fact that data shows there is no difference in the well-being of pet owners versus non-pet owners.

William Chopik, an associate professor in MSU’s Department of Psychology and co-author of the study, told MSU Today:

People say that pets make them happy, but when we actually measure happiness, that doesn’t appear to be the case...People see friends as lonely or wanting companionship, and they recommend getting a pet. But it’s unlikely that it’ll be as transformative as people think.

True, these pet owners examined in the study claimed their pets improved their life by making them feel positive emotions and companionship but they also touched on the negative side of pet ownership like cost, and health and behavioral concerns. Adds Chopik,

Staking all of your hope on a pet making you feel better is probably unfair and is maybe costly given other things you could do in your life that could improve your happiness

I guess that's a good reminder ahead of the holidays for anyone who might be considering gifting a pet this season.

Find more details on the MSU study here.

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