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JoAnna Lou
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Human v. Canine: Who to Save
Study looks at our relationship in the worst of circumstances

Last month a couple yachting with their Jack Russell made the news when their boat capsized and the husband saved the dog before going back for his wife. Sound crazy? Most people would probably save their spouse first, but choosing a person over a dog is still a conflicted decision.

A recent study at George Regents University asked over 500 people who they would save from the path of a runaway bus—a dog or a human. It came down to the specifics. Everyone said they would save a sibling, grandparent, or close friend rather than a strange animal, but if the dog was their own pet, the answers were more divided. More participants began to choose the dog if they were picking between their own pet and a distant relative or local stranger. The number further increased to 40 percent if the person was a tourist.

This study shows the special relationship that we have with our pets as they've become a true member of the family. Hopefully I'll never be in the position to have to make such a difficult decision!

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JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

Photo by mikebaird/flickr.

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