Monday, September 10, 2007

Dog people can be People people too

Far away from my small town, an acquaintance overheard a once perceived intelligent office mate reveal her true self.

Lesson here was...if you're smart, educated, single and want to draw sneers and behind-your-back ridicule from even a welfare mother with a 4th grade education, say the following statement in a public area of your workplace as a critical dig to a co-worker who rushes home ahead of others at the scheduled end of a workday..."I mean, granted I don't have kids...but I have a house and I have dogs, so it's not like I don't have responsibilities at home...I know people may treat their dogs like kids (in what some might consider a lovely and sickly ironic twist of man's-best-friendom), but for this woman to openly criticize a family man for wanting to rush out of the office to be home with his kids, then compare it to her own empty existence that consists entirely of her job, her house, and her dogs, is sad and demented.

Now, all you animal lovers out there that are living perfectly content and fulfilling lives as SIPO's (single income pet owners), don't get me wrong. I'm not criticizing you or your lifestyle. Read deep here and see that my war of words is with this woman and those like her who choose to judge another without having a modicum of experience in the other person's parental shoes.

Imagining parenthood, examining parenthood, having first hand brushes with parenthood, and being a surrogate parent Uncle/Aunt is NOT parenthood.

And owning a house and two dogs is not parenthood.

Regardless of how much more I may like my dog than some of the kids in my daughter's classes, I can't help but feel a little dehumanized by a person who speaks out loud, out of turn, and out of ignorance, when comparing the full life of a family man to her "fully rationalized" life as a dog owner.

Some dogs deserve better owners than the ones they have.


Unknown said...

It is sad actually but altogether not uncommon. It usually changes when they have children but not necessarily and not always. And then its sadder.

OKDad said...

Ooooor, these people have children, only to turn into the competitive "living-vicariously-through-their-children "A-type parents who then feel ultra-superior to all those without kids.

Then, when they keep breeding and pop out multiples kiddies, they morph into uber-ultra-superior parents, looking down their noses at anyone whose family unit is fewer in number than their own.

Just as some dogs deserve better owners, likewise some kids deserve better parents.

Anonymous said...


Personally, I have a dog, a cat, six or more peacocks, two guinea hens, and uncounted turtles in the pond. I never mistake any of them for a human responsibility.

While children may roll in the mud, they rarely if ever roll in filth.

The real issue here is people who anthropomorphize animals. While one can treat an animal humanely, that doesn't mean the animal is human.

Conversely, being a parent is not a unique responsibility. Caring for aging parents is also a unique responsibility, as is caring for the poor, the mentally infirm, the dispossesed, the sick.

Perhaps all of those who focus on their children, or pets, or property, or hobby, or career exclusively should widen the scope of their focus.

The real problem here is that the world and the demand for compassion and caring is so vast and the capacity of any individual to satisfy the demand so small that the only solution is to work against one's own self interests.

Humans are not genetically programmed to work that way. It is certainly learnable, but it is very, very difficult, and consequently very, very rare and the rewards ephemeral at best.



OKDad said...

You suppose in 10,000 years or so when we "highest-on-the-food-chain" bipeds have vacated this planet, that our four legged (and winged and shelled in your case) friends will miss us?

I think not.

Okay, maybe they'll miss how we baby talk to them, but who wouldn't.

Come here you sweetie-weetie face...puppy wuppy want some kibble?