Whether it is a dog or cat, furry friends make our day
A new survey shows Northern Ireland has the highest percentage of pet dogs in the UK, with more than a third of households providing a home for canine friends.
Only 16% of our households have a cat as part of the family.
There are many complex reasons for this. Dogs are friendly with their owners, who also keep fit by exercising them, whereas cats usually appear needy only at feeding time.
But it is foolish to overstate such stereotypes. Many cats are affectionate to owners, and many dogs go their own way.
Most importantly, both cats and dogs can provide a focus for children and family life, and give company to older people who otherwise live alone.