Don’t feel too sorry for Fido

There is a time and place to bring our pets

It is time to reevaluate our relationship with the animals around us.

From our beloved pets to the wild rabbits, deer and feral cats that wander our neighbourhoods, each of us needs to decide where to draw the line.

It is human nature to anthropomorphize – to give human characteristics to animals or objects in our lives. Many people dress their dogs in clothing, shod them in rubber boots on a rainy day or tuck them into pajamas at night. They celebrate doggy birthdays with cake and gifts, and phone pets during the day to talk to them over the answering machine so they don’t “feel lonely.”

Others take their dogs with them wherever they go, appropriate or not. And if their pets are refused, as is the case on B.C. Transit buses, they argue their rights to have their canine companions given the same privileges as their human offspring.

In this age of doggy day care, in which Canadians spend more than $9 billion a year on their pets, one risks being pegged as Cruella de Vil if you even suggest that there is a time and place for Fido.

Dog lovers, of course, want to be able to have their pets accompany them as they desire. But what might be companionable for the owner, may be less than comfortable for the dog. A fireworks show is great fun for the family, but Rover might be happier at home away from the sound of explosions. A summer market is a great place to meet up with friends and enjoy browsing through stalls, but Fluffy might be more relaxed and refreshed by a walk in the park. Local beaches are a great place to commune with nature and watch the wild birds nest, feed and fly, but to many dogs it is but a buffet in waiting.

Although we like to anthropomorphize, we do not assign human qualities to every object we encounter. If the overpopulation of deer were instead an overpopulation of rats or snakes, no doubt the Capital Regional District would be saving a lot of debate, not to mention money spent, on deciding what to do about the problem.

We must remember that as humans we are the superior species, and as such we must make decisions based on what is best for us, even if that means our four-legged friends miss the picnic.

 

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