Like a scene from a romantic comedy: Guy takes dog for a walk, girl notices his beautiful golden retriever, guy and girl strike up conversation… and the rest is history.
That meet cute might actually be quite common, according to a recent survey by Purina that analyzed responses from 1,600 men and women across the United States to explore the various ways pets enhance interpersonal relationships.
Nearly 90 percent of respondents said dogs help them meet people and more than 50 percent said their pets helped strike up a conversation with someone they were romantically interested in.
"Not only do pets serve as a great conversation starter, but studies have also shown that pets can help release 'feel good' hormones in humans, including high levels of oxytocin also known in some circles as the 'love hormone,'" Dr. Zara Boland, a veterinarian for the company, said in a statement. "Whether it's making friendly conversation or taking the first step in finding long-lasting love, pets create wonderful opportunities for people to connect on a vast spectrum of different levels."
Beyond initially helping to “break the ice,” 63 percent of people said they were more likely to date someone with a pet and 60 percent of people said they are likely to consider someone with a dog more attractive.
What makes people with pets so seem so attractive? Pet owners are generally more extroverted and have higher self-esteem, thanks to proven emotional and physical benefits of pet-ownership, says Boland.
"Pets are the perfect companion and can open many doors for their owners," said Boland. "Knowing that they can positively impact our social and romantic lives is just another great example of why pets and people are better together."