"...we found that on the whole dog 'owners' in southern states and rural areas still tended to treat dogs as animals, rather than as family members," writes Markovits. "In blue states, in contrast, these animals have become family members whose predominant, if not indeed sole function, is to give and receive unconditional affection, not to their 'owners' but to their 'moms,' 'dads,' and 'siblings'."

Read the entire essay at the Huffington Post.