Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Your Bitch is So Cute! Do You Have Daycare Yet?

Dear Eve Stevens,

I've reached an impasse with some dear friends on the issue of pets. Simply, these friends are "pets are EXACTLY THE SAME AS human children" people, while I contend "aw HELL no, they're not!" While I don't doubt that pets may give someone the sense of companionship that children may, to claim that pets are the same as children in ludicrous. Can you leave a child in a crate with some water during your workday? Can you go on a weekend trip and just leave a litter box and some food for them? Do you have to train pets how to ride bikes, talk them through their disasttrous first loves, or worry how you'll send them to college? NO. Yet these friends of mine, rather smugly, maintain that their dogs are no different from human children. Since I've had both pets and now a child, I feel a little more informed on the subject than are they, so it's not just an ideological argument. But whenever the subject of pets comes up, out they roll the child-claims, and I have to leave the room. Again, while people (who have or haven't had the experience of raising human children) may justifiably claim an emotional status comparable to raising children, the actual claim in reality is false and groundless--the responsibilities are completely different, and if it came down to having to choose between saving a dog and saving a human child, shouldn't the choice be clear? Where do you weigh in on this, and what do you suggest for the next time this issue comes a-running?

Kennel Generation

Dear KG, I will tell you a quick story. Once, just once, I decided to argue with a stranger on the internet (that is such a lie). This person (who I can only assume was fake because isn't everyone fake on the internet?) maintained, quite vehemently that she (in her early 20's) knew what it was like to be a mother (YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT I'VE BEEN THROUGH) because she was responsible, mostly, for raising her younger siblings. There was no argument I could put out that couldn't be refuted because, because, because.... She did have points, but she did not have experience. Now that she has babies of her own (real or fake I can't be sure), I am sure she would argue against her younger self because that's how it works. She is on the other side now, so she knows.

In defense of pet parents, I do know some who are better to their pet babies than many human parents are to their human babies. Many fully vested pet parents do take their "babies" to day-care, worry about their love-lives and how they will care for them as they grow older. And although worrying about paying for dialysis for your 20 year old cat is not exactly saving for 8 years of college, a lot of people-parents "send" their kids to college by throwing a lot of student loan apps in their kids' laps. I have met (IRL even!!!) parents of human children who feel no obligation to do anything with their kids other than feed, clothe, and shelter them. They don't hug, encourage, or really engage with them any more than they have to and those parents, in their minds, are doing a-okay: The kids are alive! They (the kids or parents) aren't murderizing anyone! CPS hasn't been called! Well, once, but the teacher needed to mind her own fucking business! (Actually, these parents are dead inside and do not use exclamation points. I apologize for taking this liberty for emPHAsis.) That said, I do agree with you. It is different. You are potentially raising someone who can physically alter the entire world with just his or her mind and not even the smartest, sweetest fur baby can do that yet. You are raising a voter and, potentially, a criminal, a procreator of our species, an atom splitter, a middle manager, a naked rugby player, the anti-Christ, or someone that posts inspirational quotes all fucking day long the Facebook! Your job is different. How you parent will change the future of our species in some way or other. Pet parents, of that responsibility, you are free. On the other hand, I have to ask: why are you so het up about this? So what if someone wants to argue that it's the same? It doesn't take away the truth that you know and it doesn't make them terrible people for adoring their fur friends. It's like arguing with someone who has never been to Paris but swears New York is better. Yes, they are ignorant and sound like children, but you've been to Paris and they haven't so FUCK THEM! Your life is complete and they've never had cheese or bread that made them pass out from the just the smell. YOU ARE WINNING, MOTHERFUCKER. LET IT GO. Song of the Day

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