Animal Studies Bibliography

Anderson, Lynn J. 1985. The pet in the military family at transfer time: It is no small matter. Marriage and Family Review 8(3/4): 205-222.

Hypotheses : 1) Negative effects of transfers are compounded for family members in families of any rank when factors (financial concerns, pet's health problems, inconveniences) require disposition of the pet before the transfer. 2) Family's rank affects pet decision (whether they bring the pet or leave it behind, get one at the new location, or avoid pets). 3) Family's military rank does not affect how much they value their pet, and effects of leaving it behind will be the same regardless of rank. 4) Families that highly value their pet but leave it behind will be of the junior enlisted group, because the barrier is likely the cost.

Independent variables/operational definitions : 1) Pet status: brought pet with from former assignment (PS1), left pet behind and did not replace it (PS2), left pet behind and replaced it (PS3), got pet at new place but did not have one before (PS4), or no pet involvement at previous or new place (PS5). 2-4) rank: junior enlisted (ranks E4-E6), senior enlisted (E7-E9), or officers (W1-O6).

Dependent variables/operational definitions : 1) effects of leaving pet (long-term saddening for at least one family member--more than 2 weeks, temporary saddening for at least 1 family member--less than 2 weeks, made happier, no effects noticed, or other) or of bringing pet or getting pet at new station (made family happier, made family sadder, no effects noticed, or other); 2) Pet status (see IVs); 3) Value placed on pet (family member/companion/friend, property for education/breeding/protection, or other); 4) Pet status

Findings : Families' pet status broke down as follows: 15.76% PS1, 9.78% PS2, 21.11% PS3, 20.65% PS4, and 33.7% PS5. In other words, 45.65% of the sample had a pet at transfer time, and 29.89% left the pet behind. Pets kept included dogs, cats, birds, a horse, and miscellaneous species. Families involved with pets at transfer time were asked about the pet's role in the family, and 98.81% chose family member. Reasons for leaving the pet behind were expense, pet too old, quarantine required was too long, inconvenience, or other, and 78.81% chose expense or quarantine. Differences appeared by rank, with junior enlisteds (then officers, then senior enlisteds) most likely to choose expense, and senior enlisteds (then officers, the junior enlisteds) most likely to choose quarantine as the reason. Officer families also often chose pet's old age. 96.36% of affected families reported long-term or temporary sadness from leaving the pet, and at least 75% of each rank reported long-term saddening. 96.55% of families who brought their pets reported that it made them happier. Of people who got a pet at the new station (PS4), 89.19% said it made the family happier, 8.11% said no effect, one family said other, and no families reported increased sadness. There was no difference by rank as to saddening effects of leaving pets behind. There was a difference by rank as to disposition of the pet, with junior enlisted and senior enlisted more likely to leave their pets behind than were officers, who brought most of their pets with them. Junior enlisteds usually left pets due to costs, while senior enlisteds usually left pets because of the animals' welfare (health, age, etc.). There was no difference by rank as to value placed on the pet, since nearly all families chose family member. The null hypothesis that there is no difference by rank in reasons for leaving a pet behind could not be rejected, but the trend toward junior enlisteds choosing cost as the reason is supported by the data's direction. The high value all families placed on their pets, the large number of pets that were left behind, often for reasons beyond the family's control, and the saddening effects leaving the pet had on the families all indicate that this issue is important to military families. [Note: These results cannot be generalized to transfers within the continental US that do not require animal quarantines, but could be generalized to many international transfers.] There should be further studies of the effects on family life of these pet losses, as well as on the effect on the pets of all this abandonment. The roles of pets in civilian families, team and military company mascots, etc. should also be examined.

Sample/population sampled : 184 families were interviewed. three stratified random samples were taken from the 2596 families at Aliamanu Military Reservation in Hawaii. Interviews were achieved with 44.29% of the junior enlisteds, 49.43% of the senior enlisteds, and 53.93% of the officers.


Visit the Michigan State University Homepage Return to the Animal Studies Homepage