Animals and Money: People putting pets first in the recession

For the last year we've heard some pretty horrific stories about the ways animals are really getting the shaft in the recession. People abandoned dogs in houses to get back at real estate companies. Shelters everywhere are packed as people give up their dogs and cats. But this week the American Kennel Club came out with an unscientific survey showing that dog people are putting their animals first in lean times.

The survey was totally unscientific--just based on a 1,088-person poll on the AKC site. But it was still a bit of cheerful news for animals in the downturn. The question that got all the attention was that 96% would give up fancy coffee for their dog and slightly more would forgo spa treatments. That means only 4% are complete self-absorbed jerks who would favor Starbucks over their dog Sparky. But I'll chalk that up to the crazy quotient that shows up in every survey--like those that say they've seen a UFO or are totally satisfied with President Bush.

Businesses have noticed that because pets are a bigger part of our families than they were a generation ago, we're less inclined to skimp on them during a recession. Earlier this year Wal-Mart announced it was pushing further into pet supplies because pets, like kids, are recession-proof.