A new study by Direct Line Pet Insurance has revealed that more than half of British dog lovers think that someone walking a dog will be more friendly than the average person they meet while out on a walk.
The research also revealed that almost half (46 per cent) of Brits think loving animals makes a person more attractive, with women more likely to be attracted (49 per cent) to animal lovers than men (40 per cent).
In fact, an estimated 360,000 dog owners have experienced a romantic encounter with another dog walker; this includes flirting, dating and some have even married someone they met on a dog walk. Television celebrity Ben Fogle met his wife Marina Hunt whilst out dog walking. According to the findings, 28 per cent of Brits that have found love on a dog walk met in a park or countryside, with a walk through the local town/city the second most likely meeting point (10 per cent) closely followed by a walk on a dog friendly beach (eight per cent).
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Ben Fogle commented: “My wife Marina and I met while out walking our dogs in Hyde Park. They took an immediate shine to each other and if it wasn’t for them, we might never have met. I grew up around dogs and cannot stress enough the physical, psychological and social benefits of owning a pet. Dogs get you out in the fresh air in all weathers and are a great conversation starter. Who knows where Marina and I would be without ours!”
Pet owners are also believed to have positive character traits, with a third (32 per cent) of Brits saying that someone with a dog is more likely to be loyal, compassionate, and kind.
Many dog owners have been surprised by the social benefits since they adopted their pet, as Abi Titmuss once told K9 Magazine in an interview saying, “For me living in London, the city has become a different place. Every day you go out and you’ll have a conversation with a stranger. In fact, I think people know him before they know me. I’ve met so many new people because of him and some of my best friends because of him so I owe him a thank you. Dogs give people permission to speak, whereas without a dog you walk around looking at the floor or not really making eye contact, with a dog, people interact more and I love that.”
Prit Powar, head of pet insurance at Direct Line, says: “Our research shows that there is much more to owning a dog than the obvious health and companionship benefits. There are clear social advantages for the owner, as dogs can help in the romance and friendship stakes but when adding a pet to your family it’s important to research the breed thoroughly, ensuring that it’s behaviour traits and exercise needs suit your lifestyle. Our ‘Walkies’ app enables people to share their favourite walking routes with other dog lovers and provides a social community for dog owners.”