I don't know how it is here in Ireland, but in Germany there seems to be some kind of pet-owner-movement. Everywhere you look new books about all kinds of pets just spring up like mushrooms.
Here you can buy the book by a pretty famous german comedian, Ralf Schmitz, about living with his 23 year-old cat Minka. His book is subtitled "Dogs have owners, cats have employees". In his book Schmitz talks about how to get your cat through adolescence, what to do when he/she is hungry, how to organize that your cat does not disturb your love life.....
The author Hauke Brost however wrote a book called "111 reasons to love dogs". Being himself the owner of big dogs, he obviously wanted to share his feelings. This book isn't meant to be some kind of guideline for dog owners or wanna-be owners, but its 111 reasons are funny and may help you to get over something your dog just did.
And it's not just books: A new movie has come to the cinemas worldwide, called "Marley and Me". This movie is about a family who got Marley, a golden Labrador, when he was still a pup, and shows how life has developed in this family.
So it seems to me that pets got back their popularity, and even though people around the world don't have as much money as they used to have, I'm sure only a few want to abandon the idea of having a pet. I hope that this development won't stop, because let's face it:
Pets cost money, they can be nerve-racking, they might smash your most beloved possessions
- but they are still darn cute!