Sunday, October 27, 2013

Love Your Pets Appropriately People

This is going to be THE blog post that people unfriend me over.

Because people tend to turn the other cheek when you challenge their culture, their politics, their religion, their nutritional guidelines and their child rearing philosophy.  But there is one subject, that is absolutely, completely and totally off limits.

Their pets.

Now before I go all ranty on your a** (and I am about to, wait for it), let me say that I love animals and I believe that if you are going to take on the responsibility of owning a pet, it is absolutely necessary to be a responsible and caring pet owner.  You need to feed them, groom them, look after their health and well being and by all means, don't leave them in your f*cking car.  

I also totally understand that people love their pets, that their pets become members of the family and I think that is great.

What I don't think is great is when people try to humanize their pets.  For the same reason that I don't like circus animals doing tricks, my eye roll goes into overdrive when I see people cross that line between animal and human with their pets.

The worst time of year for this is the period between Halloween and Christmas where you see all manner of house pets be dressed up in various festive costumes.  

People, there is just no need to dress up your pomeranian like Tina Turner or your labrador in a coconut bra and hula skirt (no lie, I've seen these posted on Facebook).  It serves no purpose whatsoever to dress up your cat like Jessica Tandy (ok, I haven't seen that one).

A quick search of 'dog Halloween costumes' on Google Images brings up a dogs dressed as a cheerleader, a tarantula, a dinosaur, Kim Kardashian, Darth Vader, an old lady, a hot dog, spaghetti and meatballs, Pippi Longstocking, the Devil and Michael Jackson.

And that's not even a drop in the bucket.

Now I know what those of you who have pets and think that this is adorable are thinking -- what's the harm, we are not hurting the dog and they just look so doggone (get it) cute all dressed up?

Is there harm in the same way there is when you leave a dog chained up outside in subzero weather or locked in hot car in 90 degree weather?  No.  But the absence of physical harm doesn't mean that it is something that should be done either.

Dressing your pet up like Ben Franklin is not showing love for your pet.  Your pet doesn't feel loved in a powder wig.  Your pet feels loved when you play with him, take him for a walk or let him lay on your lap or at your feet while you pet him.

Call me nuts but I think if you love your pet, you should love them for who and what they are, because they are a beautiful and loving animal and a big part of your life, your heart, your family.  They are your family.  And they should be.

They should also be appreciated for what they are, in all their animal glory and not be humanized.   Trying to humanize them by doing stuff like dressing them up in costumes, in my opinion, crosses a line between loving, responsible pet ownership and using your pet to compensate for some kind of gap in the pet owner's own life.  The pet is getting no joy out of the costume, and actually some types of clothing or accessories may actually be harmful to your pet.

There are times where clothing for pets may be appropriate, for instance in cold weather and a little sweater on a small, short haired dog is cute and appropriate but there is no need for the mind boggling number of shoes, booties, jewelry and other accessories which are made to tug on the heart strings of pet owners and exploit their wallets for profit.   At some point I just wonder if all that crap is really about the pet being loved or about the pet owner overcompensating for something missing out of their own life.

Sorry, but dressing your pet up in a costume is just not loving him or her.  It may be many things, but it's not pet love.

If you truly love your pet, treat them with dignity and love and appreciate them for the beautiful, loving, loyal creatures they are.  Don't try to change them into small, cute furry versions of people.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome post!This should be published in a paper in the opinion section so it will reach a larger audience. I had no idea u were an animal lover.