In a recent Australian study, pet owners scored more highly on the social capital scale than those that did not. Furthermore, the research went on to show that pet ownership was positively associated with social interactions, favour exchanges, community involvement and increased feelings of neighbourhood friendliness and sense of community;18 attributes not to be sneezed at. With around 63% of Australians owning a pet, these benefi ts, when aggregated across the whole community, are of signifi cant interest to local Councils and others concerned with building healthier, happier neighbourhoods. In addition, these benefi ts create a ripple effect that extends beyond pet owners into the broader community, with pets helping to smooth the way for social interaction and general ‘out and about-ness’. Both anecdote and research suggests that pets are well recognised ice-breakers. Dogs, for example, can stimulate conversation and contact between strangers23-25 and trigger positive social interaction.26 Dog walkers are also more likely to experience social contact and conversation than those that walk alone.23 Similar fi ndings have been demonstrated in an Australian study where half of all dog owners indicated that they had come to know locals in their suburb as a result of their dog.18 Even non pet owners recognise the value of pets as social ice-breakers, Even non pet owners recognise the value of pets as social ice-breakers, be it in their experience of speaking to dog walkers passing by their home, e it in their experience of speaking to dog walkers passing by their home, with neighbours who own a pet, or with dog owners at the local park with neighbours who own a pet, or with dog owners at the local park. A big Thank you to www.sydneymalestrippers.com.au to helping support this page.