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Subject: The pet lovers are going to hate this one...... rss

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Rich Charters
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Am I the only one who thinks we have gone completely overboard in regards to our pets?

Here are some things I've observed that don't seem quite right to me:
1) People spend thousands of dollars on their pet's medical expenses rather than putting the pet down
2) People won't travel because they don't know what do do with their pets
3) When introducing family and children in a business setting, people speak of their pets. "I have 3 kids," "I have 2 children and 4 grandchildren," "I have 2 dogs and a cat."
4) strangers give more attention to a dog on a leash than a baby in a stroller.

Question: do others think we've gone overboard, or do I stand alone on this? Should our pets be esteemed at the same level as humans??
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Gregory Amstutz
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1) Agreed. Minor medical to ease suffering/cure an illness is one thing. Long term major medical - nah, I just can't see it.

2) Put them in a kennel - it works. Have someone take care of them for you. or, if you can do it pet friendly, take them along. But don't stay home just 'cause you have pets. Ridiculous!

3) This one I'm kind of on the other side. I like to say that I have one "fur kid", but it's more joking than anything else. But why would you be talking about your kids in a business setting anyway?

4) I like older kids, but I must admit that babies give me the creeps. I'm much more interested in the dog. That doesn't mean that I'm elevating the dog to human status.
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Aaron Potter
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PinkPiggy wrote:

As a caretaker, friend and father of four cats...


Er...ew. I think that's illegal in my state.

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richcharters wrote:
4) strangers give more attention to a dog on a leash than a baby in a stroller.


Well:

A) That dog on a leash is definitely not going to grow up to become the next Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Bin Laden, etc, et al. He is also not going to casually annihilate the environment through everyday actions for his own convenience. He will never use intelligence to plan cruel acts and malevolence to other creatures just for his amusement. He will not contribute to the overpopulation of the planet. Nor will he start a war, plan a terrorist attack, or support through financial or employment activity either of these things.

In contrast, the human child will definitely do some of those activities, and may do all of them.

So in the mind of many, pets are de facto better than human children, outright.
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richcharters wrote:
Am I the only one who thinks we have gone completely overboard in regards to our pets?

Here are some things I've observed that don't seem quite right to me:
1) People spend thousands of dollars on their pet's medical expenses rather than putting the pet down
2) People won't travel because they don't know what do do with their pets
3) When introducing family and children in a business setting, people speak of their pets. "I have 3 kids," "I have 2 children and 4 grandchildren," "I have 2 dogs and a cat."
4) strangers give more attention to a dog on a leash than a baby in a stroller.

Question: do others think we've gone overboard, or do I stand alone on this? Should our pets be esteemed at the same level as humans??


1) My money, I can spend it on whatever I want.
2) What am I meant to do, leave it in the house alone to starve.
3) To many people pets are family, especially intelligent pets like dogs and cats.
4) I hate children (I dont have any so dont worry), and I love dogs.

Overboard, not even close, same level as humans, even further away. When my vet gets convicted of mass murder for the thousands of animals she has put down we'll come back to this.
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Rusty McFisticuffs
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PinkPiggy wrote:
If we'll both die from some mutual injury, I'd probably save my cat's life before my own.

THAT'S THE RUM TALKING
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bjlillo wrote:
richcharters wrote:
1) People spend thousands of dollars on their pet's medical expenses rather than putting the pet down



If it makes you feel better, I put a bullet in the head of our last pet who needed to be put down.

I've done this at least twice. It's emotionally difficult but I find it to be a special and intimate burden.
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My two dogs have been a lot more loyal than my ex-wife.

Pets are a responsibility. Discarding them because it's inconvenient isn't fair to them.

I think some people go overboard with their pets, but I really don't have an issue if they went to lavish money on their animals. For one is not money, and two why should I even care?

I mean really the questions you ask...

1) People spend ridiculous amounts of money on all sorts of things. Who cares if someone wants to spend it on their pet? Now if it only prolongs suffering, then I'm not for it. But then I feel the same way about people.

2) If people don't want to travel because they have pets, that's there call. Just because you find it overboard doesn't mean it is.

3) I don't really have a problem with it. Mainly because for the child-less person, mentioning you have 2 dogs and a cat is about as close as your going to get to being a part of the "in" crowd. Personally, I can get real sick real fast of people talking about their children.

4) So if I'm at the park, and I see a dog doing cool tricks and a baby just sitting in the stroller, the correct thing is to fawn over the baby? Sorry, but not for me. Attention parents - Your kid isn't as cute or special as you think it is. I'll give my attention to the dog.
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3. I think people are slightly bonkers when they start comparing their pets to human children ... it's somewhat pathetic too.
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BlueMountain wrote:
3. I think people are slightly bonkers when they start comparing their pets to human children ... it's somewhat pathetic too.


I refer the honourable gentleman to 50 reasons why a cat is better than a man
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Richard Hefferan
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My mother is an animal lover. She uses them to soothe the dysfunction in her relationships. While I was growing up we had, when the house was at it's very emptiest, 1 dog, 2 cats, 2-4 assorted rodents, a bird. Now she has 6 birds (all parrots now which are much worse than the finches she used to get), 3 cats, 1 rodent, some fish, and a dog. She's actually low at the moment, a cat and both her dogs died recently of old age complication and she's only gotten 1 dog in replacement. I shudder to think what will happen when my youngest brother finally moves out.

I have no animals by choice. My wife owns some. They get in my way. I try not to beat them if they get close.

So no, I don't want to hear about any business associate's pets or greet a stranger's dog. But I also don't really want to hear about their children either. I'm a quart and a half of sunshine. (although, admittedly, I like pets and children of friends. People are just crazy for thinking coworkers/strangers are people you share your private lives with)

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richcharters wrote:
Am I the only one who thinks we have gone completely overboard in regards to our pets?

Here are some things I've observed that don't seem quite right to me:
1) People spend thousands of dollars on their pet's medical expenses rather than putting the pet down
2) People won't travel because they don't know what do do with their pets
3) When introducing family and children in a business setting, people speak of their pets. "I have 3 kids," "I have 2 children and 4 grandchildren," "I have 2 dogs and a cat."
4) strangers give more attention to a dog on a leash than a baby in a stroller.

Question: do others think we've gone overboard, or do I stand alone on this? Should our pets be esteemed at the same level as humans??


I agree some have gone overboard with pets, however your points below don't support it and you're drawing wrong conclusions. (Background--we own two dogs and two cats.)

1) As others said, it's our money and can spend it how we choose and can afford. Our pets provide us the most value and joy compared to all of our other hobbies, including games, thus isn't too far off to spend money on them. As others said, it depends on whether they can be saved or not vs their pain vs the cost.

This one really stuck a nerve for me:

This last summer, our dog chipped a canine tooth, requiring a root canal, which cost close to $2000. As a strategic tooth, our dog in pain, can easily be saved and is only 8 yrs old and we love her very much, we paid it. It was no question. Why terminate a beautiful loving and loyal dog which is a huge part of our life with many years left due to money we can afford?

My wife also spent a lot initially on one of the cats before we met. It had a virus and she nursed it back to health. This cat is still alive after six years when it probably would've died a long time ago, providing my wife years of love, companionship, entertainment, and loyalty, and of course me after we met years ago.

Why is spending $2000 on board games, vacations, and PCs better? (Note, I like all of the things listed.)

2) People who won't travel due to pets is foolish. We always find a sitter or someone to stop in our house to feed them and let them out/change litter. There are pet-friendly hotels/campgrounds if that is an option. Of course, a kennel is also another viable option.

3) What's wrong about bringing up your pets in a business setting? Business or otherwise small talk, people usually ask about one's family. I'm ALWAYS asked if we have kids. Since we're childless, we state we have our pets. It's a way to keep up the small talk/networking and to feel included. I could turn this around and state why do people have to be bringing up their kids in every situation?

4) If/when we're parents, I don't want strangers coming up to my kids, scaring, touching, or possibly infecting them. I don't have that caution with the dogs. Likewise, I wouldn't do the same to other's kids.

So yes, some people can go overboard with their pets, however really only #2 of your questions I would deem overboard. #1 and 3 are generally not overboard, depending on how they're handled. #4 is never overboard.
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CHAPEL
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This will come off as insensitive, but I have a lot of friends who treat their animals like children, and those that do tend not to have children. I think they might be compensating for the lack of that in their lives.

Have kids, they live longer.
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Chad Ellis
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richcharters wrote:
Am I the only one who thinks we have gone completely overboard in regards to our pets?

Here are some things I've observed that don't seem quite right to me:
1) People spend thousands of dollars on their pet's medical expenses rather than putting the pet down


I think it depends, but I've spent significant money on pet medical bills. One reason to do it is that you love the pet -- I'd much rather lose a few thousand dollars than lose my dog. Another is that many pet owners (myself included) think that part of owning an animal is being responsible for it. A goldfish is one thing, but a dog is another.

Quote:
2) People won't travel because they don't know what do do with their pets


Again, I think it depends. Our dog is less than a year old, which is one factor in a decision that when my wife takes the girls to visit her parents for a week I'll say here. A couple of months later, however, we have a family trip planned and our dog will stay at a kennel we trust.

Quote:
3) When introducing family and children in a business setting, people speak of their pets. "I have 3 kids," "I have 2 children and 4 grandchildren," "I have 2 dogs and a cat."


I tend to find this a bit silly as well. That said, most times I've heard this (not all, but most) it's been said tongue-in-cheek.

Quote:
4) strangers give more attention to a dog on a leash than a baby in a stroller.


Well, a typical dog is more fun than a typical baby. More to the point, a typical dog loves attention whereas a baby may be more nervous around strangers. I tend to give a lot of attention to both, and in both cases I check with the parent/owner to see if that attention is going to be a good thing.

Quote:
Question: do others think we've gone overboard, or do I stand alone on this? Should our pets be esteemed at the same level as humans??


I think those are very different questions. Pets are definitely not people. I might spend a few thousand dollars to save our family dog but I'd do almost anything to save one of my daughters. I think some people do go overboard on their pets (just look at the designer/gourmet foods you can buy for your dog as evidence) but then again I think plenty of people on this website go overboard with their games. We don't talk of them as children, but I've seen a lot of money spent on fancy components. If you think of pets as a hobby that has a brain and that responds to attention then it may make more sense.
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MWChapel wrote:
Have kids, they live longer.

And cost infinitly more.
Also, if that's the argument, I'd recommend a parrot.
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Richard Hefferan
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
Our dog is less than a year old, which is one factor in a decision that when my wife takes the girls to visit her parents for a week I'll say here.


Sure. It's because of the dog. whistle
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XanderF wrote:
richcharters wrote:
4) strangers give more attention to a dog on a leash than a baby in a stroller.


Well:

A) That dog on a leash is definitely not going to grow up to become the next Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Bin Laden, etc, et al. He is also not going to casually annihilate the environment through everyday actions for his own convenience. He will never use intelligence to plan cruel acts and malevolence to other creatures just for his amusement. He will not contribute to the overpopulation of the planet. Nor will he start a war, plan a terrorist attack, or support through financial or employment activity either of these things.

In contrast, the human child will definitely do some of those activities, and may do all of them.

So in the mind of many, pets are de facto better than human children, outright.


And another thing is babies are ugly, yet everyone goes on about how cute they are and the parents are practically begging for some kind of validation that their baby is cute. Even ugly dogs are cute in that "so ugly they're cute" way, but ugly babies are just... ick. I'd rather pay attention to the playful, affectionate dog then the drooling stroller monster hidden in pastel blankets. Every baby is Rosemary's to me.

So, to be passive-agressively thoughtful of parents feelings, I ignore their baby and go for the dog. I'm sure they notice the slight, but at least they don't see my look of horror and resulting facial tic from having to look at their spawn, which would be a bit more insulting.
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richcharters wrote:
Am I the only one who thinks we have gone completely overboard in regards to our pets?


Probably not.

Quote:
Here are some things I've observed that don't seem quite right to me:
1) People spend thousands of dollars on their pet's medical expenses rather than putting the pet down


Why should anyone tell me what to do with my own money? I have thousands of dollars to spend and a dog that I am very attached to. As long as the medical situation isn't hopeless I'll spend the money. I'm not going to spend $3k on chemo to keep the dog alive and miserable for an extra year, but I would certainly pay for emergency surgery or something like that if he needed it and that expense would mean having a healthy dog. Everyone has something they spend money on that other people will think is dumb--how many people would look at all of us spending hundreds of dollars on board games and think we're all nuts?--but it's pretty impolite to point it out.

Quote:
2) People won't travel because they don't know what do do with their pets


This is silly. We travel when we want to, and either arrange for someone to stay with our dog or pay for a dog-sitting service. I suspect "we can't go because of the dog" is more like "Oh, I'd love to but I'm washing my hair on Friday" in terms of excuses.

Quote:
3) When introducing family and children in a business setting, people speak of their pets. "I have 3 kids," "I have 2 children and 4 grandchildren," "I have 2 dogs and a cat."


I've never heard anyone do this without it being an obvious joking response to the (also totally inappropriate and irrelevant to a business setting) conversation about people and their kids. In some cases it can even be a little self-deprecating defense measure for people who are feeling judged about not having a traditional family.


Quote:
4) strangers give more attention to a dog on a leash than a baby in a stroller.


I don't know that this is true, but even if it is so what? I'd be much more comfortable with someone approaching my dog than someone approaching my baby, perhaps that's part of the reason?
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There are ways of having unhealthy relationships with anything in life, and that includes pets. Still, when things pass from healthy to unhealthy can be rather fuzzy.

richcharters wrote:
1) People spend thousands of dollars on their pet's medical expenses rather than putting the pet down


I think a lot of this comes down to what is affordable to a person. Our dog is old, she's 13 and she needs several hundred dollars spent each year on stuff. We paid $700 to have a cancerous tumor removed from her tail two years ago. These are expenses that we can afford and have no problem paying them because we care about our dog. Still, there is some unspecified amount of money at which point we would have to put her to sleep. If she had some condition which could be treated and the vet said it would cost $2000 then, sadly I suspect we'd have to say our goodbyes. However if my wife and I were a couple of income brackets up the ladder, and the vet could assure us that our dog would continue to have a quality life after the treatment... then sure.

I would think it was a bit selfish for a pet owner to go to any expense to keep a pet alive, only for the pet to be in pain and suffering till the bitter end. That would be a unhealthy relationship.

richcharters wrote:
2) People won't travel because they don't know what do do with their pets


I can relate to this. I have a relative who wouldn't travel when their dog was on it's last legs, refusing to use a kennel and didn't seem to be able to find anyone else to be able to look after the dog. I'd shake my head at this. However, now that our dog is getting old I can at least see the issue with the kennel. My wife and I went off for a wedding and we brought our aging dog to the kennel we'd always used. When we got back we found that our dog had unfortnately started a fight and got a nasty gash just below her eye. The kennel was great, rushing her off to an emergency vet and got everything patched up. However we had to foot the bill and that cost us another $500. For us, that's way over budget.

So at this point we can't see using a kennel for our dog. Being older and around a bunch of dogs just increases injuries. She's also got some arthritis and I'm sure that would just make her more grumpy, increasing her chance to get into a fight. So for her own safety and other dog's safety the kennel is out, plus we simply couldn't afford to have surprise bonus bills like that last time.

We do have a great network of friends though, and so we've been able to call on people to look after her (and they get paid) when we do have to travel. I think though that at our dog's age there is just a degree of detail and care that needs to be attended to.

As for my relative who wouldn't travel. I think a lot of that has to do with personality and the kind of social network they had. Both played against their situation and made it so they self isolated themselves. A bit unhealthy, but the issues involved went well past the pet.

richcharters wrote:
3) When introducing family and children in a business setting, people speak of their pets. "I have 3 kids," "I have 2 children and 4 grandchildren," "I have 2 dogs and a cat."


For me this doesn't even register. Some people are parents, some are not but have pets. Being a pet owner I can relate to the idea that their pets matter to them.


richcharters wrote:
4) strangers give more attention to a dog on a leash than a baby in a stroller.


I'm not a parent, so I don't have a complete perspective on this, but I'd imagine that if I was walking about in the park I wouldn't want strangers lavishing attention on my children.


richcharters wrote:
Question: do others think we've gone overboard, or do I stand alone on this? Should our pets be esteemed at the same level as humans??


There is always going to be a range of views, but I think it's appropriate for people to extend their empathy out a bit farther than what is out there in some parts of the population. The attitude of "it's just a dog" I think is missing something. When I lived in Texas I saw this attitude a great deal more. People would leave their dogs chained up outside all day in hot or otherwise poor conditions.

The problem is that reductionistic thinking strips away empathy to a degree where a lot of suffering is unfortunately tolerated. Who wants to live in uncomfortable conditions? The idea that animals are just biological robots is a pretty unsophisticated view to have.

It's about finding the right balance. Dogs in particular have evolved to live with humans and have a real social relationship with humans. Just as keeping a child locked away in a closet is going to completely screw them up for the rest of their life, the same thing will happen to a dog if treated that way.

You can go overboard. I think the mistake there is just blanketing an expectation of human nature onto the animal, when the person needs to understand what it means to be a human, what it means to be a dog, and then how that relationship is supposed to work. As with everything else in life, that means reflection and a willingness to learn and adapt, and people often don't want to bother.

On the other end, some people really really like hierarchies. Getting everything into their particular strata is really important. It has it's uses sometimes, but it can also lead to a lack of empathy and that oversight can cause suffering to occur that didn't have to happen.
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4) I'm surprised no one has yet mentioned the importance of developing good relations with unpredictable, speedy, iron-jawed, sharp-toothed potential threats.
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rinelk wrote:
4) I'm surprised no one has yet mentioned the importance of developing good relations with unpredictable, speedy, iron-jawed, sharp-toothed potential threats.


Especially if you have books hidden at home.
 
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richcharters wrote:
Am I the only one who thinks we have gone completely overboard in regards to our pets?

Here are some things I've observed that don't seem quite right to me:
1) People spend thousands of dollars on their pet's medical expenses rather than putting the pet down
2) People won't travel because they don't know what do do with their pets
3) When introducing family and children in a business setting, people speak of their pets. "I have 3 kids," "I have 2 children and 4 grandchildren," "I have 2 dogs and a cat."
4) strangers give more attention to a dog on a leash than a baby in a stroller.

Question: do others think we've gone overboard, or do I stand alone on this? Should our pets be esteemed at the same level as humans??


1) I've spent hundreds on a pet. It's worth it, as long as I'm not extending a life of pain just because I'm too weak to let go. People who aren't willing to pay for vet care are people who shouldn't have pets.

2) I hate traveling. Pets sometimes make a good excuse to avoid it.

3) Yeah, this weirds me out. My mom refers to my rats as my kids sometimes but only as a joke.

4) Dogs aren't barricaded inside a canvas/plastic shell, they're less likely to get me sick, and they're far friendlier than babies. I also get the impression that people with dogs are more receptive to attention than are people with babies (I could be wrong about that).

I don't think pets should be esteemed at the same level as humans, but I don't believe that most of your points indicate that they ARE being esteemed that way. (#3 being the exception.)
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It still weirds me out that so many people seem to place humans on a "higher level" in the animal kingdom. We're really not that special guys, calm down. Once you see that all of the issues in the OP fade away (Except for #3, that's always odd).
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rinelk wrote:
4) I'm surprised no one has yet mentioned the importance of developing good relations with unpredictable, speedy, iron-jawed, sharp-toothed potential threats.


I guess because it goes without saying. I try very hard to maintain good relations with my daughters.
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Those are softball questions/comments. In Oregon, people take it to the next level.

1) Is declawing a cat or debarking a dog torturous and evil?

2) Must you have pets in pairs so they don't get lonely? Are you abusive if you do not?

3) Is leaving your pet in the car while you pop into the store abusive? How about leaving it at home for 8 hours while you go to work?

4) Is it ok to purchase a pet from a breeder, or must you instead rescue a pet from the pound?

5) Is keeping an outdoor pet abusive?

6) Is not brushing your pet's teeth abusive?

7) Is Cesar Millan, The Dog Whisperer, a clever trainer who understands how dogs work, or an evil, vindictive, abuser of dogs?
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