Pets' roles in the home have gone from just a pet to a member of the family in recent years. In a Q & A session with TIME , journalist Michael Schaffer talks about his new book, One Nation Under Dog , and what he has discovered about people's need to treat pets like children.
Some of his discoveries include petfood reflecting trends seen in human food, such as going organic; pets being seen as a support system and member of the family; and despite the economy, those who have the resources continue to pamper their pets because they are seen as a key part of their owners' lives.
New shelter data casts doubt on whether the pet population and pet ownership are truly growing.
While the pandemic caused unprecedented suffering worldwide in 2020, the disruptions to dogs, cats and other pets adoption numbers may normalize in 2021.