We all have pets (dogs, cats, horses, guinea pigs, parrots, etc…) because it pleases us. We just feel good about having pets. One way or another, pet ownership satisfies some need of ours. There’s nothing wrong with that, in principle. All harmonious relationships are “give and take” and if we give in the same measure as we take, everyone should be happy. Species are not important in this context. We have many examples in nature of animals of different species forming harmonious relationships with benefits for all parties.
That being the case, it seems to me, each of us (pet owners) should ask, “what do I give back to my pet?”
I’m not thinking about a place to sleep, food and medical care for those are the obvious duties most (if not all) pet owners do observe. I’m thinking about allowing our pets to be the animals they were (and are) before they became our pets.
As I said, there’s nothing wrong with our selfish motives for pet ownership, but we may have a problem if we don’t realize it, or don’t want to accept it, for we may fall into a series of pseudo explanations, easy interpretations and knee-jerk solutions—and that’s abuse in my book.
I have a deep respect for all life independently of species and race. It appears to me that the pet/owner relationship, in this one aspect, should not be much different from any other relationship, be it with a spouse, a lover, a friend, a parent, a child. We should be content with what they can give us and not ask for what they can’t give. We should give them plenty of room to be themselves. We should never take any relationship for granted. Every new day should be one more day we should feel privileged to share with that particular living being—independently of species.
Think about it. Am I totally wrong?
Have a fabulous day!
Animal Training My Way—The Merging of Ethology and Behaviorism by Roger Abrantes.