A recent study by Ottawa researchers showed that people who live alone and have a dog do not feel less lonely than those without dogs. This contradicts a long-held myth that our canine companions offer an escape from our solitude. People with dogs and a lack of a good social circle did not feel less lonely than those living similarly and without a canine friend. You can read the entire article HERE but I just had to quote a paragraph from the Montreal Gazette article:
People with limited community connections, for example, were more likely to humanize their dog - and those who engaged in this type of anthropomorphism were more depressed, visited the doctor more often and took more medications. Pychyl [author of the study] suggests this is because people who treat their pets like family will go out of their way to nurture the relationship, often at the expense of their personal lives.
This undermines the notion that lonely or depressed people should have dogs. The greater picture is a need for us to connect with those around us of the same species: Homo sapiens. Anthropomorphic behaviour includes, but not limited to: walking dogs in strollers, calling our pets "little people" or our "children," and yoga for dogs, to name just a few. Anthropomorphic behaviour is dangerous: for the dogs, for the cats in crazy-cat-lady-homes, and for us (including the crazy cat lady). They'll be no political correctness here.
Psychological health and a strong feeling of community must involve, at least in great part, playing this game.