Some time ago, I went door-to-door in our neighborhood to advertise a Bible study we were starting in our home. One thing I learned as I knocked on doors was that a large percentage of the people could not even open their doors to talk with me. Why? Because they typically had multiple barking dogs that prevented them from opening the door more than a couple of inches. Conversation was out of the question. Many people never even opened the doors even though I could hear them along with the racket caused by the dogs.
We, as a nation, have become obsessed with our pets. To the point that we cannot talk to people because our animals dominate our households. We have chosen pets over people. To me the statistics are sobering and perhaps even disturbing:
- In 1970 in the US there were 203M people and 67M pets. 33 percent as many pets as people.
- In 2010 in the US there were 309M people and a staggering 164M pets. 53 percent as many pets as people.
- In 40 years, the human population had increased 52% while the pet population had increased 145%!
- The average cost per year for a dog or cat is $600-$900 meaning we spent about $100-$150M on pets in 2010. That is 1/3 to 1/2 of our total charitable contributions for a year.
Imagine for a second that we, as a nation, still owned only 33% as many pets as people (i.e. returned to 1970 levels). This would mean 62M fewer pets and a total savings of $37-55B. That’s billion with a B! Through Compassion International or World Vision you can sponsor a needy child for about $40 a month or $480 a year. That means that we could provide food, clothing and medical care for 78-122M children every year if we in the US just returned to 1970 levels of pet ownership! Let’s write out 122M:
We have chosen pets over people.