Most families with pets don't actually think of the pet as an animal, it is part of the family. A loved one. If the house caught on fire it would be a tough quick-thinking decision whether to run back and save the wife or the dog. Of course, I am seeing this from the wife's perspective. Perhaps there are women out there who prefer the dog. I'm just not one of them.
I've been treated like a dog in past relationships, but in this marriage I am top dog so to speak (if there were a pet). Of course there is no pet to compete with but I am pretty sure that hubby would run back in and get me first.
I've had acquaintances who talked to their dogs nicer than they talked to their spouse. "Oh, sweety, you have such a cute butt". "Come here and give me a big wet kiss". In a sing-song voice of seduction. If I happened to be looking in another direction, I would have thought they were talking to their spouse. I would end up an evening with these people thinking why couldn't they have as much fun and show as much attention to their spouse.
These have been my kind of examples in life. I try to learn from all my experiences.
In actuality, I can't have a dog right now and I do love them very much. So does hubby. I love to see photos of people's pets and I get to share the fun and adventures when I read other blogs, sort of an aunt.