Pets and the Community

Pets may help people to build social bridges in our communities by acting as social lubricants with neighbours or strangers, or even as motivators for walking and use of parks. This in turn facilitates exchanges of greetings and other interactions between people who may not otherwise interact with each other. These social bridges can be collectively thought of as the ‘glue that holds society together’, also known as social capital. This area of social research is only beginning to be uncovered and promises to yield some fascinating findings on the role of pets in people’s lives and their community.





  1. Wood, L, Giles-Corti, B, & Bulsara, M, 2005, ‘The Pet Connection: pets as a conduit for social capital?’, Social Science & Medicine, vol. 61, no. 6, pp. 1159-1173.
  1. Messent, PR, 1983, Social Facilitation of contact with other people by pet dogs, in Katcher AH & Beck AM (eds), New Perspectives on Our Lives with Companion Animals, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
  1. Hart, LA, Hart, BL & Bergin, B, 1987, ‘Socializing effects of service dogs for people with disabilities’, Anthrozoos, vol. 1, pp. 41 -44.






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