Pets are Not People

This post might get me some hate mail.

I used to work with a woman who referred to her little dog as her “son.” The funny thing was that she had a human son who had just gone off to college. I always thought it was weird that she referred to a dog as her son, but I chalked it up to eccentricity. At least until we discussed capital punishment, and she said that it was wrong to execute murderers and serial rapists.  Until the “Leo the dog” incident happened where a man, in a fit of road rage, reached into a woman’s car, grabbed the little white dog (a Bichon Frise) named Leo, and threw him across a few lanes of traffic, where he got hit by a car and died.  This woman said, “They should give him the chair!”  I don’t think she was talking about a La-Z-Boy.

Then several years later I worked with a woman who had two dogs and her firstborn baby. She commented how she was going home to her “three children.” I clarified, asking her if she had other children besides the new baby. She said, “No, I’m talking about my baby and my dogs.” I told her that her dogs are not the same as children. She disagreed. So I asked her, “If your daughter got sick and you took her to the doctor, and the doctor said she needed a $30,000 operation, would you pay it?” She said without hesitation, “Oh, absolutely.” I said, “What if it were your dog?” Then she kind of made a grimace and bobbed her head from side-to-side as if she were trying to decide. I said, “That’s it right there. With your daughter, no price is too high to save her life, but with your dogs, there’s a line.”

Lately I’ve been seeing more things like this on the internet. The usage of the term “furbabies.” People referring to their pets as their children/sons/daughters, etc. People referring to themselves as parents of these animals. When I got a dog about eight years ago, I took him to Petsmart to obedience school and one of the employees referred to me as my dog’s “daddy.” I said, “I had nothing to do with making him, and I’ll thank you not to spread that around.”

Yesterday was mother’s day, and I saw people referring to themselves as the mother of their pets. Now don’t get me wrong here, I’m friends with some of these people, and I love them dearly. But they’re wrong. Dogs are not humans. Cats are not humans. I love animals, but there’s not an animal in the world I would die for. My kids though? I wouldn’t hesitate. And you know what? I got offended. You see, I have three children (one is an adult), and I’ve had dogs and cats.

There’s a huge difference between a pet and a child. With a child, a woman gets pregnant, goes through a nine month pregnancy, hours of labor, pain, discomfort, huge medical bills, thousands of dollars of medical equipment and staff on hand in case something goes wrong. Then she goes through weeks of getting up several times during the night, a million diaper changes, constant worrying about the safety of the child, trying to find a good school, helping the child with his homework, listening to the child talk about his problems, arguing with the child, apologizing for things said in anger, teaching the child to drive a car, about the birds and the bees, navigating the teenage years with all their drama, guiding the child into a plan for his future, And even when the child moves out, worrying about that child pretty much for the rest of your life. And if that child should die before his mother or father? That’s an earth-shattering event that can break up a marriage, send people into deep depression, and generally change someone’s life forever.

Now with all that in mind, let’s talk about a dog. I got a dog back in 2006. How difficult was it for me to get him? I walked into the Humane Society and picked him out of the two puppies they had. I brought him home. I got him his shots and got him fixed (cost about $30). I spent a few weeks housebreaking him. I took him to obedience school. He was a good dog. But he was not my child. To me, comparing the joy, the toil, the heartache of rearing a child with the task of raising a pet is offensive because it belittles the work that parents of human children face.

And so when I hear my friends or family refer to their pets as “furbabies”, their children, etc, I will continue to keep my mouth shut, as best as I am able. But I’m thinking about how wrong they are.

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About Steve Picray

I have been many things, but right now I am a registered nurse attempting to pay off my debt so that, God willing, I can be a pastor again someday. I have a wife and three kids. I am a conservative Christian (of the Baptist variety). This blog is about me: the things that happen to me, the things that interest me, and the things that bother me. If you have a question, just e-mail me at spicray AT gmail DOT com. God Bless!
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3 Responses to Pets are Not People

  1. Mari says:

    Oh my gosh I LOVED THIS!!!!! We are getting a puppy in 2 weeks. Someone who thought we already had her asked me this morning how my first Mother’s Day was. Uh – I’m sorry? I don’t follow. (I knew what he was saying, but I can’t fathom.)
    I am ANTI-dogs-licking-me-in-the-face-or-at-all. I can not stand it. GROSS GROSS GROSS. My sister was teasing me that my dog will lick me and love me. I told her that my dog won’t lick me (I will teach it not to – I realize that it will at first). My niece chimed in and said that I won’t mind because it’s my child. WRONG-O. I kind of let her have it and let her know that this dog, in no way shape or form, is my “child”. It is my dog. And, quite honestly, I wouldn’t want my child licking me, either, so I’m especially sure I won’t want my dog to.

    I’ve already assured everyone that I am not this puppy’s mommy. Her mommy looks a lot like her, and I (hopefully) look nothing like her. I have assured my parents that they are not my puppy’s grandparents (much to their relief).

    I am sure more correcting will be done in the future. My friend whom is responsible for making me want this dog told me that I will not want to leave this dog on its first Christmas this year when I talked about going to visit her for the holiday. Again, I don’t follow. The dog has no idea what Christmas is. The dog is my property. Not my family. I realize I will love her, but she’s still a dog.

    It’s just more of society striving to devalue human life.

  2. plumpandpump says:

    People who have this mentality may change it if they hear the stories of an owner of a cat or dog dieing. Then that animal eating the owner’s body for nurishment. Dogs and cats are animals and will tap into their instincts. They are far from being human. The next time someone brings up my pet is my family member ask, Why are you eating meat? Seriously why do these people eat any animals at all if they consider a dog or a cat like a human? Pigs have a greater intelligence then dogs! Society is so messed up and backwards. 90 percent of Americans feel that their pets are family members.

  3. Peanut says:

    Take a DNA test…..just to see if your pet is your child. Case Closed.

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