Are Pets Important?

Today I wanted to share yet another great blog I frequent and enjoy…  Patricia McConnell’s blog – The Other End Of The Leash

Dr Patricia has been a wonderful guest on Animal Talk Naturally Radio Show a couple of times and has written some of the best books I have read on dog behavior.

Here is an excerpt from her blog:

“Just a pet” How many times have you heard someone say that? Perhaps it was a conformation breeder who observed, This pup doesn’t have a good top line, so he should be sold as just a pet.  you’ve probably read the phrase in articles about how much we love our companion animals: It is remarkable how much money the American public spends just on pets. And companion animal owners use it.  Ask any veterinarian, who too often hears: “We just adore our little Cocker Spaniel, she’s the greatest joy of our lives, but we can’t afford to spay her because she’s just a pet.”

Part of the problem, I suspect, is the derivation of the word “pet”. It began as a reference to a spoiled, over-indulged child and only recently has been used to describe the dogs and the cats sharing our homes. Spoiled and over-indulged are not words designed to engender respect or importance, now are they?  It seems that the American psyche is highly ambivalent about our companion animals; either acknowledging how much they add to our lives, or dismissing them as trivial things, something akin to children’s toys. Nice to have around, but not really important.  I wrote about this at length in the afterward to For the Love of a Dog , trying to explain why those of us who love dogs so much are not neurotic or socially challenged, at least not any more than the rest of the country.  One of my favorite books about the bond between people and dogs is Pack of Two, by the late (and amazing) writer, Carolyn Knapp.  It is a beautiful, beautiful book, and if you haven’t read it, go get a copy right now.  I deeply regret that she died, tragically, before she was able to grace us with more of her writings (and, selfishly, before I was able to meet her).

I am curious what others have found.  Do you also wonder sometimes if the world sorts into two groups? Group one includes those whose love for animals informs each and every day of their lives (in this case I mean companion animals, but there’s much to say in later writings about the importance of our connection to wild animals and an understanding of their behavior). Group 2 includes people who can take them or leave them, being indifferent to pets at best and those who love them, or at worst demeaning the bond between people and animals as an example of social ineptitude. Of course, I’m oversimplifying, but I’m curious what others experience.. do you often feel like you have to justify your love for your dogs, cats, horses? (ferrets, cockatiels, rats, etc.)

Read The Whole Blog Post and more HERE


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