While I do not disagree that the “world spirit” or culture may be trying to muddy the lines of distinction between humans with a rational soul and animals, I would not be so quick to state the this survey largely contributes to the humanization of animals.
As a priest who has dogs and no “partner,” I do not have the choice and, thus, would spend personal time including at night with my dogs. I did, however, spend Valentine’s Day with parishioners as a fundraising Valentine’s Day Dinner supported by the Knights of Columbus, our Ladies Guild, and our youth group.
However, many people are finding more sympathy and comfort from their pets than from humans. Pets are not likely to talk back and feel entitled to their opinion being considered “truth” whereas our pets just want our attention, love and reciprocate as best they can. Perhaps our pets can teach us humans (and our partners whoever they may be) a lesson or two!
Rev. John M. Zimmerman
Diocese of Charleston, SC