Friday, May 6, 2011

It's an insult to refer to your dog as a pet? Since when?

            “We need to get a dog, Mom.” Alex had a cute pout on his little face, and his pleading blue eyes were adorable. Unfortunately for him, I was distracted by the fact that he had to look down at me since he now topped six feet.

            “I’ve been traveling a lot, and it’s not fair to a pet to leave it in a kennel,” I answered.

            “They aren’t called ‘pets’ anymore,” PJ chimed in. “It’s considered insulting to domesticated animals.” He smiled at me. “But I agree with Alex. You need to get a ‘companion animal’.”

            Oh dear. They were ganging up on me. Chris and I had dogs before we had the boys, so this was the first time in their lives that we haven’t had a canine companion animal. It has been a long year since Buffy passed away.

            “Do you have to call your pet fish a companion animal, too?” I chose the deflection route. “I’ve never actually felt that fish were companions. As Bruce the shark in Finding Nemo says, ‘Fish are food, not friends’.”

            “All domesticated animals are supposed to be called companion animals according to the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics,” PJ explained earnestly.

            I rolled my eyes. “None of our dogs seemed to mind being referred to as pets. I’m pretty sure the hamster, the guinea pigs and the rabbit didn’t care, either.”

            “They were all just hiding the pain they felt when you called them pets,” PJ replied. He was doing his best to keep a straight face. Alex laughed out loud.


            “You can’t use the term ‘wildlife’ either. Non-domesticated animals are now referred to as ‘free-living’.”

            “Free-living lions and tigers and bears? Oh my. You made this up, didn’t you?”

            “Absolutely not. I’m not that…what’s the word I’m looking for here?”

            Alex filled in the blank with “crazy”.

            PJ nodded agreement. “See, little brother says I’m not crazy.”

            “Actually, what I said was that you aren’t ‘that crazy’. There’s a difference.”

            I chuckled and picked up my purse. “I’ll be at Starbucks if you need me.”

            “But Mom…” Alex called after me, “...you didn’t tell us if we could get a dog.”

            I waved and shut the door behind me. I couldn’t bring myself to give a definitive “no”. I love dogs.



  1. So tell us about your new dog!! :>
    Love, Gloria

  2. I'm sure you'll get sick of hearing about him, Gloria. He's precious!