I frequently get asked my professional opinion about whether I think people go “too far” in their consideration of their pets — people who plan their vacations around their companion animals, buy them holiday gifts or refer to them as their children. In my opinion, the question itself is a problem. I think it can be dangerous to label the behaviors of others as if there were universal rules about what is acceptable and what is “too extreme.” Labeling another’s values as “good,” “bad,” “right,” “wrong,” or “too extreme” is futile in most cases, and only serves to divide people. Many people feel their furry (or feathered, scaled or otherwise) friends are kin in the same way a human child or relative is. Frankly, I see no problem with this — quite the contrary. It says a lot about commitment and personal responsibility for someone to take the life of another in their care seriously. To value another life regardless of difference (e.g. species) is at the very root of peace. And to rank someone else’s worth is its antithesis.
I’d even go further to say that not making certain sacrifices to accommodate one’s companion animal is far more problematic than the reverse: It is one of the primary reasons our shelters are overfilled with former family pets.
There is an instance in which someone can go “too far”… finish the post by clicking here.
Pia blogs often at The Daily Wag on MarthaStewart.com, the home of episodes from Francesca and Sharkey – Martha Stewart’s two dogs. Dr. Pia Salk is a psychologist, animal welfare advocate, and expert on the human-animal bond. Pia frequently highlights the important role that animals play in our lives and how our societal treatment of animals conveys important messages to our youth. In her own work, Pia often credits the animals as being “the real therapists.”