WHEN Darren Hockey proposed to Amy Molloy, the whole family was there to watch.
In front of their two "fur babies" - boxer-cross-staffy Lennox and pure-bred boxer Memphis - the happy couple made their little family complete.
And anyone who thinks that's unusual mustn't have a pet in their life.
The Study of Pet Companionship, released yesterday, says Queenslanders without children are placing greatest emphasis on their pets as companions.
In fact, Ms Molloy is among the 70% of Queenslanders who believe that their pets make a significant contribution to their happiness.
"I love my dogs. I couldn't live without them. They always make my day," she said.
"They definitely make me a happier person, if I go out I can't wait to come home and see them."
La Trobe University School of Psychological Science Associate Professor Pauleen Bennett said pets provided reliable and unconditional companionship that improved the psychological and physical wellbeing of their owners.
"Our lives are so disconnected and we're busy doing different things, our pets give us a sense of who we are and how we fit into the world," Prof Bennett said.
"They constantly think you are the best person ever and give you that unconditional love no matter what."
The study found that almost 31% of respondents confided in their pets, while 47% relied on their pets for comfort.
"Lennox knows when I have a headache or when I feel sick and he will sit on the bed all day and won't leave me side," Ms Molloy said.
>> IT'S A DOG'S LIFE
- Australia has 33 million pets
- 59% of younger Australians (16 to 34) rely on their pets for comfort
Dogs help their owners become "better" people by modelling character traits such as unconditional love and humour
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