6.15.2012

The issue of pet "ownership"

Hi, everyone ... MP here!  Sorry we've been MIA lately ... lots going on and hopefully we'll be back posting regularly soon (as well as making the rounds of our friends' blogs, which we very much miss). 

Busy as things have been lately, though ... I had something I wanted to share with everyone.  Lots of people, myself included, are uncomfortable with the word "ownership" when it comes to our pets.  They are our family members, our companions, in some cases our surrogate children ... it can vary.  But the point is that as companion animals have become more central to our emotional lives than they used to be in the days when they were largely our working partners (which is just as deep a bond in many cases, though certainly a different kind of relationship), we have become more and more uncomfortable with the word "ownership" in relation to our dogs and cats.  We are their caretakers, their guardians, their parents, whatever.  Everyone's verbiage is a little different, but the emotion behind it is, I think, largely the same.

It never crossed my mind that this mindset could possibly put my pets in danger, but after reading THIS ARTICLE I am absolutely convinced that it might. 

Words are powerful, as we know all too well, and in this case they may be more powerful than we ever imagined. "Owner" is not a word I'm particularly comfortable with as it pertains to my view of myself in relation to my pets, but if calling myself their owner is what I need to do to protect them, then that's what I'll do. 

Assuming you read the article I linked to above, what are your thoughts?  


12 comments:

Amber DaWeenie said...

I'm with you on this one. I always refer to my dogs as "the kids". And as "the kids", the only time the law should step in is to protect them as is the case with human kids and social services. Pets are family members in every sense. And I guess the bottom line is however we see them...they are---regardless of how the law sees them. And let me add....if anyone wants to use the word "ownership", so be it. My dogs OWN ME!

Molly The Wally said...

Oh so well put Amber Daweenie! Nice post! Have a good weekend!
Best wishes Molly

snoopy@snoopysdogblog said...

Hmmmm? You sure made us think!! Really interesting article….

BUT - Has anyone tried 'owning' a Beardie?! We're so independent it's pretty much impossible!!

However, I really don't care what term is used, if only all people could have our best interests at heart and love us as much as we love everyone :)

Wags to all

Your pal Snoopy :)

snoopy@snoopysdogblog said...

Hmmmm? You sure made us think!! Really interesting article….

BUT - Has anyone tried 'owning' a Beardie?! We're so independent it's pretty much impossible!!

However, I really don't care what term is used, if only all people could have our best interests at heart and love us as much as we love everyone :)

Wags to all

Your pal Snoopy :)

Carolyn said...

Being in the UK, I am ambivalent about ownership v guardianship. I think if people have to be called owners in order to be aware of their responsibility for the animals that share their lives, then so be it! I’m not into the extreme views of some of the animal rights activists either!

I’m sitting here looking into Austin’s eyes and what he is saying is “I don’t care what you call yourself as long as you love me.” xx

Mr. Pip said...

OK, so this article made me REALLY ANGRY! I consider myself an animal rights activist, but I do NOT support PETA and never have. I have some questions about HSUS (mostly financial), but I certainly do not lump them in with PETA. They also do not support the end of companion animals, that's crazy! Ingrid Newkirk is a freak and does NOT speak for any animal rights activist I know - in fact most true animal rights groups consider her the ultimate enemy. Neither of these groups represent the REAL animal welfare and/or animal rights community in this country.

This writer is so misinformed, it's mind-boggling! Also, she quotes the American Veterinary Medical Association who although they are obviously are supporters of dogs and cats have one of the WORST RECORDS and POLICIES on farm animals in the country. They fight any legislation designed to improve conditions for farm animals - overcrowding, inhumane slaughterhouses, over-use of antibiotics, etc. I could go on, but will stop.

Like you, I do NOT use the word "owner". I prefer guardian, parent, etc. I own my car, I do not own Pip.

Kristin

Patrice and Higgins said...

I would like to see the day when my mom tries to own me! BOL!!

I think the article kind of made my mom a little angry...she says that she loves me as a family member and she actually calls me her son. She is a crazy pet parent for sure! Thanks mom!!

~Higgins

NCmountainwoman said...

We've always considered ourselves to be dog owners. We do love them like family and the two we've lost during our 40-year marriage have been grieved like family members. But we still own them. We sought them from an excellent breeder and we bought them. (Although the interviews and the paperwork more closely resembled adoption.)

Ownership, guardian...the words are not important. What IS important is the love the interaction among them and us. And I'm sure the dogs don't care one whit.

tubby3pug said...

I actually really agree with what the author of this piece is saying. While I consider myself a pet parent, I will also refer to myself as an owner. I agree the term guardian makes me nervous at it seems sort of vague. I worry that the work of animal rights advocates will eliminate some of my favorite breeds, pugs and bulldogs, and may put the life I share with my dogs in jeopardy as I think ownership and my ability to make decisions for my dogs and in their best interest and my best interest would be harmed by the mindset the author criticizes here.

Great article!

urban hounds

tubby3pug said...

I actually really agree with what the author of this piece is saying. While I consider myself a pet parent, I will also refer to myself as an owner. I agree the term guardian makes me nervous at it seems sort of vague. I worry that the work of animal rights advocates will eliminate some of my favorite breeds, pugs and bulldogs, and may put the life I share with my dogs in jeopardy as I think ownership and my ability to make decisions for my dogs and in their best interest and my best interest would be harmed by the mindset the author criticizes here.

Great article!

urban hounds

tubby3pug said...

I actually really agree with what the author of this piece is saying. While I consider myself a pet parent, I will also refer to myself as an owner. I agree the term guardian makes me nervous at it seems sort of vague. I worry that the work of animal rights advocates will eliminate some of my favorite breeds, pugs and bulldogs, and may put the life I share with my dogs in jeopardy as I think ownership and my ability to make decisions for my dogs and in their best interest and my best interest would be harmed by the mindset the author criticizes here.

Great article!

urban hounds

tubby3pug said...

I actually really agree with what the author of this piece is saying. While I consider myself a pet parent, I will also refer to myself as an owner. I agree the term guardian makes me nervous at it seems sort of vague. I worry that the work of animal rights advocates will eliminate some of my favorite breeds, pugs and bulldogs, and may put the life I share with my dogs in jeopardy as I think ownership and my ability to make decisions for my dogs and in their best interest and my best interest would be harmed by the mindset the author criticizes here.

Great article!

urban hounds