A Veterinary Assistant has increased social capital with their patients because they share a passion for animals!

Research Uncovers Fascinating News About Pet Owners

Have you ever noticed that when you walk your dog you tend to encounter new faces? Maybe, the neighbor’s kids run over to pet your dog. Or maybe, your dog drags you down the street so he can sniff and play with another dog on the sidewalk. At this time, you tend to hear “Awe he’s so cute. What’s his name?” However the encounter may happen, people tend to find common ground and establish new relationships when it comes to pets.

According to Dekker and Uslaner, authors of Social Capital and Participation in Everyday Life, social capital can be further explained as “the value of social networks, the bonding of similar people and the bridging between diverse people, with norms of reciprocity.” This means that social relationships can be established on a basis of similarity, no matter how small the shared connection is.

Purpose of The Study

Researchers from The University of Western Australia conducted a study to understand if owning a pet resulted in higher social capital. A similar study had been conducted in 2005. It showed that dog owners had higher social capital than those who were not pet owners. They wanted to see if these findings still held true. The researchers were interested in whether social interactions with pets resulted in building stronger community ties within a civil society.

The study was conducted in 4 different cities based off of similar climates and population demographics. The cities under study were San Diego, Portland, Nashville, and Perth, Australia. The study examined 3 different segments: pet owners, dog owners and dog walkers. 2,692 respondents, distributed evenly over the 4 cities, were surveyed for the study.


Results from the study showed that 58.7% of respondents were pet owners, and 41.3% owned at least one dog. Additionally, the study saw that pet owners had significantly higher social capital than non-pet owners. The presence of pets facilitates conversation and social interactions with neighbors and strangers. The study showed that the presence of a pet can often give off a sense of trustworthiness which can help spark conversations and potential relationships with those around you.

What Does This Mean for Our Everyday Lives?

The researchers related their findings to the “vital importance of social connections, trust and tolerance in our communities.” In a society built on social media and busyness, the presence of animals has remained a constant way to forge social relationships amongst neighbors.

So if you are thinking of ways to meet new people or to get involved with the community, you may consider strolling through the neighborhood with your furry friend. If anything, at least you will get a little exercise and quality time with your pup.


Do you love working with animals? Have you ever considered a career as a Veterinary Assistant? As a Vet Assistant, you will have the opportunity to work closely and develop relationships with pets and their owners. A Veterinary Assistant has increased social capital because they share a common connection for a love of pets with their customers.

Milwaukee Career College offers hands-on career training for Veterinary Assistant. Classes are offered at flexible times. MCC participates in a variety of financial aid programs and provides one-on-one job placement assistance. To learn more about starting your Veterinary Assistant career, head over to Our Veterinary Assistant Training Program!