Let’s be real… who doesn’t want a snuggly bundle of love to curl up with them before they go to bed every night? Who wouldn’t want the kind of companion that comforts you from your darkest fears even without having to say a word? And who needs this companionship the most? Well… with the shift of an era comes this shift of opinion. Millennials have come to the conclusion that pets are a very real, very needed part of their lives, and for good reason!Considering myself a part of this millennial generation, it is clear to me why it would be so appealing for a young person to get a pet of their own. I’ve moved out of my hometown, the house I grew up in, left my family pets behind, and have found myself in a strange new “adult” land where people usually kick you around for being young, naïve and inexperienced. Sometimes, in the cruel world of adulthood that us millennials have just begun crawling around, it can be hard to find a friend. Sometimes it can be hard for anyone to find a friend! But the difference here is that Millennials are reaching out for a different kind of companionship.
Generational studies have shown that people who are born a part of the millennial movement are less likely to be married, owners of cars and houses. Although, the one category that we seem to have “on lock” is that of pet ownership. According to the Mintel Research Firm, there has been a large increase in the number of young people who own pets, compared to that of previous generations like the baby boomers. The research shows that on average, millennials got their first pets around the age of 21, compared to the baby boomers 29. It appears that young people are reverting to find friendship in furry playmates rather than in people.
While some people see this shift as destructive to normalized family structures that have been set in place since the 50’s (and have since shifted, thanks to the swaying values on many counterparts) many people can get on board with the idea of it being comforting for young people to find support in pets.
For several college students, recent graduates, or those just paving their way through the work force, pets provide a sort of emotional stability for people who feel that their lives are just starting out. A stable pet relationship can seem so much less complicated than an intense person to person romance, both of which may offer support, but where one — in most situations — will outlast the other. The Wakefield Research Center had found that 56% of millennials were single when they got their first pet.
Not only can a pet take the place of a stressful romantic relationship, but they can also let you play the “mommy/daddy role” without the same consequences of having a child at a young age. There is something wonderful about holding a little ball of life in your arms and knowing that you are their world, their savior, and protector, and there is no other feeling than that of making them happy. For some people, this is how they feel when they hold their first child, but for millennials, they’ve found that the pleasure of giving someone happiness can be done with a pet instead!
While Millennials have often been given the bad reputation of “irrational” and “narcissistic,” when they have the opportunity to give endless love to a pet, they give all their love and more. Even if bills are tight for a month, many owners make sure that their pets come first. I think it attests to a sleeping sense of responsibility that lies in every millennial. We want to be ready to take on the world, but have to reassure ourselves that we are ready and, honestly, being responsible for little pet babies of our own is a great way to do that.
So, it is so much of a crime that young people are investing in caring for pets more and more? How can it be when they’re doing a great job! Wakefield Research shows that millennials are more likely to buy BPA-free products, natural or organic materials for their pets and even hypoallergenic shampoo! It simply cannot be fair to call these young people selfish when they do so much everyday to care for their pets.
Pets of any kind can be unique to people of any age. They can be a part of any family and companion to any lost soul. I am proud of the millennial generation for showing they care through the love of pets and keeping animals close to their hearts. Don’t be afraid to love your pet’s millennials! They’ll love you right back.