Jul 17, 2013

    Do you miss doggy more than hubby?

    WHEN markets editor Hazel Kim travels abroad, she frequently calls to check on things back home.

    Besides catching up with her boyfriend and family, the 30-year-old - who travels about once a month for work and twice a year for leisure - "chats" with her two other loved ones - her pet dogs.

    Ms Kim, who has a chocolate labrador and a poodle, said: "My poodle has cuddled with me every night for 13 years. Sleeping without him is like having an arm missing.

    "(My dogs) are like my babies."

    She isn't the only one who cannot bear to be without her dogs when she is overseas.

    According to the results of a survey by global travel-search site Skyscanner, 37 per cent of female dog owners miss their pets more than their partners, friends and family when they are away.

    Only 21 per cent of women polled said they would miss their partners the most if they were away without them, compared to 37 per cent of men.

    Conducted in May via the Skyscanner website and online platform OnePoll, the global survey polled over 1,000 dog owners, both male and female.

    In general, dog owners go to great lengths to keep in touch with their pet while travelling.

    As many as 40 per cent said they call or text someone to check on their pet's well-being while they are away, and 22 per cent said they take along a photo of their pooch during their holidays.

    Like Ms Kim, 14 per cent admitted to "chatting" with their dogs by phone so that the pets can hear their voice, while 5 per cent have had "conversations" with their furry friends through Skype video calls.

    Some 20 per cent of dedicated dog owners said they have never been away without their "furkids".

    The same proportion claimed that their pet would make the perfect holiday companion, more so than their children or friends.

    Mr Owen Sim, an obedience-training and behavioural consultant at Best Friends Doggy & Kitty Salon Cum Learning Centre, said he has noticed that female dog owners have "more of a soft spot (for their pets) as they look upon their dogs as children".

    "I have had clients who tell me that if their husband is away for a month, they don't miss him, but if they are away from the dog for just a few days, that's it," he added.

    National University of Singapore sociologist Tan Ern Ser said it is plausible that women worry more about their pets, as they are likely to be confident that their partners can take care of themselves.

    "The same may not be said of their pets, unless they can entrust their pets to someone reliable," he added.