I love the headline of this article. It provides a mental picture from the start and then is supplemented with the actual picture on the site. The lead adds to that picture and helps the reader relate to the issue. I think most people who've had a pet have experienced what the article talks about.
The nut graph comes next with statistics that tell us this is a noticeable phenomenon and why it's newsworthy. The rest of the article details the results of the study, interweaving statistics and quotes from the epidemiologist who wrote the report. While the article is easy to read, I feel like there could have been much more of a human element to it. Where is the elderly person who suffered a hip fracture last year because she tripped over Fluffy but refuses to get rid of her closest companion? I was waiting for that real person source, but she never arrived. Also, I thought the ending quote was really weak. It barely relates to the main point of the article; it just explains why the study was done.
I noticed that the article "Religious Belief Linked to Desire for Aggressive Treatment in Terminal Patients" that I blogged about earlier was also written by Roni Caryn Rabin. She follows a similar formula in that article as this one. Both describe the results of a study and mostly quote the author of the study. That article also was missing the voice of the average Joe, but was clear and concise like this one.