“All They Need Is Love”

It goes like this….

“A house is not a home without a dog.”

This is what we tell the 46% of American households with dogs, or the ones thinking about acquiring one.

“All they need is love.”

That’s the rally cry for the millions of dogs whose lives end in shelters each year.

“There is no excuse.”

Neither age nor health nor tanking economy nor natural disaster nor oh-shit-life-just-happened is an excuse for rehoming an animal, we preach.

But who is this really speaking to? 

Pets in America

If you live in America…

  • 1 in 13 Americans are unemployed.
  • More than 15% of Americans live in poverty.
  • 1 out of 5 American children (20%) live in poverty.
  • 16% of Americans do not have health insurance.
  • 50% of American households have less than $10,000 in savings.
  • 53% of American workers age 30 and older are on a path that will leave them financially unprepared for retirement. (By comparison, just 30% faced the same risk in 1989.)
  • 41% of American workers in the lowest income quartile (25%) of earners will run short of money within 10 years of retirement.
  • More than 1/3 of Americans are renters.
  • Of the 1/3 of Americans who are renters, almost half (43) are under age 30.


If you are a female…

  • Over half of the 37 million Americans living in poverty today are women.
  • You are likely to live longer than men and thus have higher health care expenses than men.
  • You are more likely than men to work in part-time jobs that don’t qualify for a retirement plan or offer health insurance, either during your career or during retirement.
  • You are more likely than men to interrupt your career to take care of family members, which means lower lifetime income, lower contributions to Social Security, and thus lower Social Security benefits upon retirement.
  • You make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes, as an average across all occupations. So again, your Social Security benefits — should you qualify — will be a bit lower.
  • If you’re a woman age 65 or older, you will likely be out of work for at least six months if you lose your job.
  • Women need to finance a 10% longer retirement, on average, than men.


If you are a single parent…

  • Nearly three out of four single parents with long-term unemployment were poor in 2011.


If you are a minority (as defined by the Census)…

  • Poverty rates for those blacks and Hispanics greatly exceed the national average.
  • In 2010, 27.4 % of blacks and 26.6 % of Hispanics lived in poverty, compared to 9.9 % of non-Hispanic whites and 12.1 % of Asians.
  • Of all American older adults (age 65+) in 2010, 1 out of 5 (20%) were minorities.


If you are a “senior citizen” (age 65 and older)…

  • The 65+ population is projected to double from 40.2 million in 2010 to 88.5 million in 2050.
  • The number of people in the oldest age bracket, 85+, will quadruple in the same time period, from 5.8 million to 19 million.
  • 1/3 of American workers born during the “Baby Boom” (1946 to 1964) have no retirement savings at all.
  • Americans are about $6.6 trillion short of what we, as a country, will need to maintain our current standard of living in retirement.
  • Almost 80% of 65+ adults lived in metropolitan areas and many rely heavily on public transportation (which often prohibits pets).

Is it time to rethink our messaging? Is it time to reinvest our resources? 

If all they need is love, then where’s the love for America’s dog owners in need?

It’s food for thought. *


* Speaking of food,  more than 50 million people in America are hungry. That is 1 in 6 of the U.S. population – including more than 1 in 5 children.

And for fun: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpYeekQkAdc

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