is the question posed by the Globe and Mail on Facebook today. Among many heartwarming replies, I found this:
Dogs are way overrated and many owners are obsessed with them in an unhealthy way. I often have the feeling that the people who are turning to dogs and pets do so because they have failed in the "human world." Sort out your issues instead of fleeing from them and trying to compensate with animals. Humans may be flawed but they are also the sources of the greatest joys in this world. An animal may be cute, but it never develops after a certain point, it never matures, your relationship with it will never surpass a very basic interaction. Also, even the most faithful dog will forget you in 2 weeks if you are away (e.g. if you are in a hospital for some time) and he gets his food from someone else. They are instinctual little opportunists, nothing more.
Well, that's one opinion. Here's mine in response:
Speak for yourself, Daniel. You can't *make* a human love you unconditionally--in point of fact, most humans have no idea what that even means. Whereas for dogs, unconditional love is the default setting. As for dogs 'forgetting you'...sorry, but you are one hundred percent dead wrong there. Check YouTube for any number of videos of pets reunited with their humans after six months or a year.
There's so much more I could write here. I am a loving pet owner and I don't think it's because I have "failed in the human world". I know many other loving pet owners and few, if any of them have failed in the human world either. (I guess I should have asked for clarification from Daniel as to what constitutes 'human world failure' in his eyes. No kids? No lifemare? No friends? I've got no kids, true, not for lack of trying. Other than that I think Eva and I are doing this human world thing pretty well.)
Oh, if you ask either of us to be as candid as possible, we'll likely tell you we do prefer animals to (many) people. That's because so much of what people, speaking generally of course, are up to holds no interest for us. I'm not into drama for drama's sake. Office politics bore me into the ground. I'm not interested in being hurt, taken advantage of, strung along, taken for granted, or being given the 'frenemy' treatment...all of which humans have done to me through the years, and none of which any animal has ever even attempted.
I believe in a world of 'power with, not power over', a world where life is not a competition and where there need not be a loser for every winner. The world as it is tends to let me down. My friends don't do that...and neither does my family, which includes my pets.
How far would we go for our pets? Tux just had dental surgery last month. Cost us over a grand. Didn't bat an eye. And Tux, truth be told, isn't the favourite around here.
Eva says she will never get another male dog, on account of just how strongly this one imprinted on her. Of course we love the Tux, but he loves Mommy just a little too much. Meanwhile, the Georgia-Peach is Daddy's dog, mostly because (I think) it's Daddy that throws her Georgia-ball. She will cuddle up to the Mommy when she's scared, but her usual sleeping position is glommed to the Daddy and she listens more closely to whatever Daddy asks her to do. But she is adorable in everyone's eyes: I'm pretty sure everyone who meets our Peach falls in love with her.
And then there's the B.B.-cat, who will likely not be around overmuch longer. She's had a full, full span of years, arriving in Eva's life long before I did. She, too, is part of the family, as was her companion Streak. Cats give you a different sort of love. different from the kind dogs dole out. But they love you, all the same, and as far as I'm concerned, my house is not my home without at least one cat in it. In fact, once B.B's gone, we'll likely be getting two kittens for the Tux and Peach to play with.
Pets enrich a home. I would never suggest to you parents that they're better than kids (though they sure cost a damn sight less). But they're our kids and we love them very much.