By SUE MANNING - Associated Press
LOS ANGELES - The next time someone reaches for photos and offers, "Let me show you some pictures of my little darlings," you might be surprised who's mugging for the camera. - According to an Associated Press-Petside.com poll, nearly half (45 percent) of all pet owners say they carry around photos of their pets - in wallets, purses, cell phones, laptops, iPods, iPads and other mobile devices.
Dog owners (48 percent) are a bit more likely than cat owners (37 percent) to carry pet pictures with them, and women (52 percent) are more likely than men (36 percent).
More than half of those younger than 50 say they carry pet pictures, but the number diminishes with age. Just under a quarter of those 65 and oldercarry such photos.
Tigger, a 6-year-old Persian cat, is such a fashion plate and so agreeable that Larry Beal of Newburyport, Mass., can't help but take photos. "Plus we love him," the 66-year-old former teacher said.
Beal carries most of the photos in his cell phone because he doesn't use a wallet. But he does carry a portrait of Tigger in a plastic sleeve in his pocket secretary. Refrigerator magnets and framed photos of the cat are all around his house. He's only too happy to share pictures of Tigger with friends and acquaintances.
But Tigger and his four-legged friends are still on the outside looking in, according to the poll conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media.
Most women - 90 percent - say they carry pictures of their children, as do 80 percent of men.
Jamie Veitch, 42, of Oklahoma Citycarries a few photos of her dogs, Sister, 16, and Pappy, 9, in her cell phone. She keeps lots more in her laptop.
"It's important because I don't have children and they are my babies," she said.
Marie Camenzind, 45, of San Carlos, Calif., carries iPhone photos of her daughters, 8 and 10, Blackjack Meow, the family's 16-year-old cat, the kids' guinea pigs and lots of fish.
She said her daughters are always grabbing her phone to shoot pictures of the pets, so the animals are well represented, but she worries about losing her phone and all the photos in it.
Camenzind said she uses her photos for screensavers and, "I've always been a big refrigerator person." But her wallet doesn't have a plastic photo holder, so she doesn't have a collection of paper photos.
"The plastic picture holders are things of the past. I am going to start collecting them because they'll probably be worth money someday," she joked.
She's right about the plastic sleeves being so yesterday.
"With the digital age upon us, many of our customers do carry photos and pics of their kids or loved ones on their phones, BlackBerries, iPhones, etc., so the demand for specific 'picture holders' has dropped significantly over the past few years," said Francine Della Badia, North America senior vice president of merchandising, planning and allocations for Coach.
On the other hand, a picture frame keyfob sold so well around Mother's Day, Coach had to take it off their website because inventories got too low, she said.
The AP-Petside.com poll was conducted April 7-12 and involved phone interviews with 1,112 pet owners nationwide. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.