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Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering ; 83(10-B):No Pagination Specified, 2022.
Article in English | APA PsycInfo | ID: covidwho-2012837


The purpose of this dissertation research was to understand the experiences of adults over the age of 60 who own a nontraditional pet as a companion. According to the research reviewed, dogs and cats provide positive mental and physical health benefits to their owners and to those who spend time with them in a therapeutical environment. Nontraditional pets, however, are rarely discussed in the literature. A generic qualitative inquiry was used to collect data from semistructured interviews 10 participants over the age of 60-seven women and three men. The participants were located by using purposive sampling via social media advertising. Due to COVID-19 precautions, all interviews were conducted using Zoom calls. The participants owned only nontraditional pets at the time of the interviews: rabbits, birds, goats, garden snails, fish, and a tortoise. An inductive thematic analysis was used to process the data and identify patterns. Four themes emerged from the patterns in the data: (a) a loving emotional bond is formed with nontraditional pet companions, (b) a central experience of nontraditional pets is companionship, (c) adults over 60 describe responsibility as the catalyst for caring for nontraditional pets, and (d) the experience of having a nontraditional pet includes remembering and creating memories. Positive emotions were expressed by all participants when discussing their nontraditional pets. These findings corresponded to the positive aspects that previous research noted about the more traditional ownership of a cat or dog. Future researchers might consider studying adults of all ages or focusing on one type/species of nontraditional pet. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved)