"There were 77 million dogs in America in 2010, up from 53 million in 1996. ‘We’ve seen a linear explosion in pet populations in Western countries over the past 40 years,’ one researcher says. ‘People are living more isolated lives, are having fewer children, their marriages aren’t lasting. All these things sort of break down a social network and happen to exactly coincide with the growth in pet populations. What’s happening is simply that we’re allowing animals to fill the gap in our lives.’"
The New York Times Book Review podcast interviews John Homans, author of What’s a Dog For?