Pictured: “Trying to write an email but Arfur and Sausage have other plans…” Paul O’Grady’s Instagram

Over a third of dog owners say they have appointed a ‘dogparent’ for their canine companions, according to new research from Rover.com, the world’s largest online marketplace for loving pet care. 35% have even gone to the effort of specifying the details in their will or having a contract drawn up so it’s legally binding.

As well as being next of kin, the main roles and responsibilities for a ‘dogparent’ include treating the pup like family (76%), being a positive influence (35%), caring for them when they are sick (48%) and never forgetting their birthday (18%). It’s Cavalier King Charles Spaniels (60%), Golden Retrievers (56%) and Staffordshire Bull Terriers (53%) that are most likely to have a ‘dogparent’.

And it’s Paul O’Grady, For The Love of Dogs host, who has been named the nation’s favourite ‘dogfather’ (59%), followed by David Walliams (18%) and Ricky Gervais (18%). Stacey Solomon also topped the list as the nation’s favourite celebrity ‘dogmother’ (15%).

But becoming a ‘dogparent’ is no mean feat – 30% were approaching the role with trepidation, admitting it comes with more responsibility than they could handle. That said, more than double (66%) would be honoured to have such a title and a further 35% would rather be a ‘dogparent’ than have a dog of their own. Almost half (45%) say this is because they want to enjoy the fun of having a pup without the responsibility of owning one.

To help mark the occasion, Rover has created a template invitation card you can use to appoint your own ‘dogparents’. You can download it for free from the website; simply print it out, fill in the name of the recipient and give to your loved one. https://www.rover.com/uk/blog/have-you-appointed-a-dogparent/.

Adem Fehmi, Rover’s canine behaviourist comments, “Appointing ‘dogparents’ is a fantastic way to ensure that your much-loved dog will continue to receive the love, attention, and dedication they deserve should anything happen to you and you can no longer care for them – dogs are an important part of the family after all!

“In addition, appointing a ‘dogparent’ can enrich and add so much value to your dog’s life, even if this person doesn’t need to be their full-time carer. Just by being there for them, they can help to provide important social experiences, and support to the owner. Not only can it be an incredibly rewarding experience for the ‘dogparents’ themselves, but the more people who love, adore, and understand your dog as if they were their own, the more fulfilled your dog’s life will be. A win-win situation for all involved!”

The top 10 celebrities Brits would most like to have as a ‘dogparent’

  1. Paul O’Grady (59%)
  2. David Walliams (18%)
  3. Ricky Gervais (17%)
  4. Stacey Solomon (15%)
  5. Simon Cowell (14%)
  6. Amanda Holden (14%)
  7. Barack and Michelle Obama (11%)
  8. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (10%)
  9. Lorraine Kelly (10%)
  10. Phil Schofield (9%)



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