As the birth rate has been decreasing and the number of single or two-person households has been increasing, the burden on raising pets may be reduced due to increased living space.
As the birth rate decreases, the number of only children increases. Thus, friends talk more about pets than their siblings. Also, if your friend has a pet in his/her house, you often persuade your parents to raise one as well.
Spany Noh, an only child and a student at Korea International School Jeju Campus, has a dog. She and her father persuaded her mother for a long time because her mother thought responsibility for a new family member would be so burdensome, and her family started raising a dog. She says that her life with her dog is satisfying. Especially during the pandemic, she feels less lonely when she spends time with her dog because it is not easy to meet people due to social distancing restrictions.
|[Interview with Spany Noh. Photo Credit: Shinyong Park]|
Chloe Shin, another only child attending Korea International School Jeju Campus, has a hedgehog as a pet. She couldn't raise a dog because she is allergic to fur, so she ended up raising a hedgehog instead; she says that she feels less lonely even when there is no one at her home just by hearing the rustling sound that her pet makes.
|[Interview with Chloe Shin. Photo Credit: Shinyong Park]|
Teenagers who raise pets sometimes travel with their pets. These days, there are many dog cafes where you can visit with your dog and shopping malls where owners can bring their pets.
I asked CEO Lee Sol-ji, who runs a dog cafe Heycomong in Pocheon-si, Gyeonggi-do, a few questions about her teenage visitors.
Although the proportion of teenage customers is not high, teenage customers often visit the cafe with friends and family rather than by themselves. Sometimes, there are teenagers who come to play with their friends even without dogs, just to play with other customers’ dogs. Lee mentions that teenagers who bring their dogs tend to show more affection for them than adults do, but she is not sure the reason why teenagers tend to show more affection. They also try to make their dogs play together with other customers' dogs.
Through the interview, I could see that teenagers have a lot of affection for their pets and are extremely fond of them.
|[Interview with Sol-ji Lee. Photo Credit: Shinyong Park]|
For teenagers who are going through puberty, pets mean a lot to them since they can give and get love. Especially, the significance of pets to families with only children seems to be relatively greater than that of teenagers with brothers or sisters because only children would feel lonely without pets in their home.
During the pandemic, pets can be a big help for teenagers who cannot meet their friends often and those who communicate mainly through online platforms. If your family is considering raising pets and is worried about various disadvantages, it would be good to note that there are many positive aspects.
Korea International School Jeju Campus
Shinyong Park email@example.com
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