Just Like Family: How Companion Animals Joined the Household (Paperback)
The rise and increasingly important role of companion animals in our familiesFrom homemade meals for our dogs to high-end feline veterinary care, pets are a growing multi-billion-dollar industry in the United States. In Just Like Family, Andrea Laurent-Simpson explores the expanding role of animals in what she calls "the multi-species family," providing a window into a world where almost 95 percent of adults who share their homes with dogs and cats identify--and ultimately treat--their animal companions as legitimate members of their families. With an insightful eye, Laurent-Simpson examines why and how these animals have increasingly become an important part of our households. She highlights their various roles in our lives, including as siblings to our existing children, as animal children themselves, and in some cases, even as grandchildren, particularly as fertility rates decline and a growing number of younger couples choose to live a childfree lifestyle. Ultimately, Laurent-Simpson highlights how animals--and their place in our lives--have changed the structure of the American family in surprising ways. Just Like Family provides a fascinating inside look at our complex relationships with our beloved animal companions in the twenty-first century.
Andrea Laurent-Simpson is Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at Southern Methodist University.