UTSanDiego.com

Investments That Go to the Dogs (and Cats)

Tickers in this article: PDCO WOOF PETM
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Love bites.

It also wags its tail, curls up at your feet and is always happy when you get home.

My wife and I have two rescue dogs. We love them, and my wife seems to come home with a new doggie treat or toy almost every day.

My working theory is that people love their pets and will spoil them no matter what. What else could explain the slope and pattern of the two graphs below? In 2008, when everything went south, plenty of spouses had their spending clipped at the hands of the other. But for Fido, the love just kept coming.

But this love, from the perspective of the stock market, has been unrequited so far. There was, until now, just no way to make money from what I sometimes call the "happy tails" factor.

That is until I stumbled across something called the Pet Passion "motif" by a firm called Motif Investing.

Basically, you can buy the Pet Passion motif and gain ownership in a basket of stocks that capitalize on the pet industry.

Among the 13 stocks in the motif there's VCA Antech (WOOF) , which operates veterinary hospitals, diagnostic testing centers and provides medical equipment to the veterinary market. WOOF has a market capitalization of $1.8 billion.

There's also Patterson Companies (PDCO) , with a $3.7 billion market cap, that provides products for veterinary as well as dentistry and therapeutic markets.

And, of course, there's PetSmart (PETM) , the big box retailer with around 1,250 stores coast to coast.

Over the past year, the Pet Passion motif has returned a more than respectable 25.8%.

I think the thing to remember about the pet market is that it's not just about the affinity people have for their pets. It's a huge market. Yes, there's untold numbers of dogs and cats, but get this from the American Pet Products Association: There's about eight million horses, 13 million reptiles (not including single men of a certain age), 151 million fish and about 16 million birds in U.S. households.

It seems that no matter what happens to the economy at large, as far as the pet market is concerned the love just keeps on coming.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.