Monday, September 21, 2009
By Julia Williams
Several years ago I was actively blogging on another site when a heated debate erupted concerning people who thought of their pets “like children.” A man who evidently did not have pets, had gotten his knickers in a twist over the idea that some people consider their pets a member of their family and – gasp!— akin to children on many levels. He stated that anyone who felt this way was off their rocker and further, that it was an insult to all “real” children. He also said that anyone who referred to their pets as “fur kids” or “fur babies” owed all children an apology.
It made me laugh then, and it makes me laugh now. My cats are “like children” to me, and the idea that it insults human children to feel this way is really quite funny. He’s certainly entitled to think of his own pets however he chooses. But no one has the right to tell anybody how they should feel about their pets, or about anything else for that matter! Moreover, no one has the right to tell a person they are being inappropriate for thinking or feeling in a way that is contrary to their own beliefs or emotions.
I don’t personally see the need to put little bows on dogs or dress them up in cute outfits (except on Halloween which is a whole different story), but I’d never tell a dog owner who did that they were in the wrong. Simply put, I have no right. My moral compass guides me and me alone; it guides only my choices for my pet, and no one else’s.
I firmly believe that if it floats your boat to think of your pets like children and treat them like cherished members of your family, then you should. If it doesn’t, then don’t. As long as there is no cruelty, neglect or harm being done to your pet, it’s nobody’s business.
If celebrating your pet’s birthday with a cake (made from dog food or cat food, of course) and buying them some presents is fun for you, by all means do it. If you want to include your pet in your family portrait or on your holiday card, it’s your prerogative. And why should anyone care if you choose to call yourself their “Mommy” or their “Daddy.” (Incidentally, according to a survey for the American Animal Hospital Association, a whopping 83 percent of pet owners do!).
I was watching a comedy show on TV the other night, when I heard a joke that really made me chuckle. The comedian said: “You can get everything from a dog that you can get from a child, but the dog doesn’t grow up to resent you.” Okay, technically that’s not true, but I still found it funny.
Well, I must go for now, my three children are meowing for some attention from their Mom.
Read more articles by Julia Williams