Sure, your oldest loves having a little sister to play dress up with whenever she wants. But the second Leroy enters the room, he’s the star. And no, Leroy isn’t your third child. He’s a golden retriever.
You’re not alone. Here’s why: Kids actually get way more satisfaction from their pets (especially dogs) than they do from playing with their siblings, according to a new study from the University of Cambridge.
Yep, researchers interviewed 12-year-olds about their relationships with their pets versus their relationships with their brothers and sisters. Kids reported stronger friendships—and much lower levels of conflict—with their furry companions than with their siblings. They also said that they tend to share more secrets with their pup. (Since dogs are non-verbal, they’re also non-judgmental. Duh.)
Don’t get us wrong: Kids adore their siblings, too. Just don’t underestimate the social support the family dog—i.e., the ever-lovable Leroy—provides.