The Poodle and Dog Blog has a post about whether we should call our animals pets or not.
I thought, instead of commenting there, I should post here, since the subject is closely related to this blog, and is actually a subject I have an opinion on (often I just don’t care about things, but this one I do!) 🙂
Anyway, if you notice, I hardly use the word ‘pet’ when I am talking about my dogs and cats. I will usually say companion animal. And although, yes, I did pay money and bought two of my dogs, and I paid money to adopt my other two dogs and both my cats, I don’t feel as though I ‘own’ them. I am their guardian. I don’t believe they are property. I believe they have rights above and beyond the rights of this couch I am sitting on.
They are living, breathing beings, independent and unique. But then, I have a radical opinion of animals. I’m vegetarian, and so I don’t eat animals. And I hold the same attitude toward animals as Chief Seattle held toward the land:
How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?
I feel the same way about another life. I don’t believe we can truly own another being. Not only a human, but any other living being.
And so I prefer to be a dog and cat guardian, rather than owner. I don’t want, as a human, to be ‘better’ than any other living creature. I want to be on the same level. I am different, for sure, but not better.
I do realize that many people who consider themselves ‘pet owners’ are just as loving, kind, generous, and bonded to their dogs and cats. So in the end, what we call ourselves isn’t as important. Except when it might come to rights and laws.
I don’t know if I’d be considered an animal rights advocate, or animal welfare. If animal rights means we have no animal companions at all, then I guess I wouldn’t be considered that. But I do prefer that living beings have more rights than now they seem to have.