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"My Baby is a Dog": Exploration of Pet Parent Identity

By Lacey Y. Boston, Barbara Keating (adviser)

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This quantitative research examined dog owners (n = 100) regarding their relationship with their pets. After beginning to treat her own dog as a child she questioned what happens when a human child enters a family and what impact that has on the pet owners' identity. The researcher hypothesized that having children under the age of 18 in the home would impact dog owners' identity and salience based on their relationship with their pet. She created 13 questions for the survey which operationalized the concepts of identity salience and prominence. By surveying 100 dog owners and asking them about certain activities they do or do not participate in with their dog, the researcher caught a glimpse into the importance of dog owner identity. Demographic questions were added to the survey for purposes of correlating parenthood and dog owner identity. It was proposed that a dog owner with human children under 18 have a less prominent and salient dog owner identity when compared to dog owners with no children under 18 living at home. After distributing the surveys, coding, entering and analyzing the data the results supported her hypotheses. These findings are informative for the actions of dog owners juggling more than one role. The data gave the researcher a peek into the actions of dog owners and the impact they have on their roles as dog and human parents.


Katie Carroll

Date 2014
Publisher Cornerstone
Department Sociology and Corrections
Degree Master of Arts
Language English
University Minnesota State University Mankato
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Adults
  2. Animal roles
  3. Animals in culture
  4. Children
  5. Dogs
  6. Family
  7. Human-animal bond
  8. Human-animal relationships
  9. Mammals
  10. parental behavior
  11. parents
  12. Pet ownership
  13. Pets and companion animals