Pardon me while I rant incessantly: Anthropomorphizing your pet

If this dog could talk, it would be saying, "I hate you."

I think I’ve mentioned how much I like the book Watership Down. So much so, that I’m rereading the Richard Adams classic. For those of you who don’t know, Watership Down is a tale of a group of rabbits who leave their warren at the pleading of a little rabbit named Fiver. Fiver has a vision that their home will be destroyed. The book follows their many adventures on their journey to find a new home.

Obviously, Adams anthropomorphizes the rabbits–that is–he gives them certain human characteristics like the ability to talk, otherwise it would be a pretty lame book. But I knew going in that rabbits can’t actually talk because I’m smart like that. Besides, it’s a story of very real human struggles told effectively through the eyes of rabbits. It works.

But here’s what doesn’t work for me.

People who think their pets are their children and the advertisers and pet industry executives who take advantage of their stupidity.

I’ll skip the not-so-subtle message of this commercial which says your cat’s well being takes precedent over your significant other’s. But since when do cats give a crap about breakfast? Are you telling me that the creature who just laid a bloody lizard on your chest while you were napping on the couch has a preference for eggs in the morning? Breakfast food for cats? Seriously?

And then there’s this:

Let’s ignore the fact that the woman is laughing while that big, filthy dog is shaking flour all over her kitchen and then chases him around the island in slow motion and get to the heart of the matter: Dog cookies. I don’t know about your dog, but mine has been known to eat cat feces right out of the litter box, and I never once recall him asking me to chop it up and bake it into a cookie before doing so.

I’m not a pet hater. I’ve had pets my entire life. I know they provide unconditional love (well, dogs anyway) and companionship. Our cat Rudy and our dog Buddy Love are both a part of the family. But they’re animals, not people.

Paul McCartney is quoted as saying, “You can judge a man’s true character by the way he treats his fellow animals.”

And I would agree with that to a certain extent, but when you begin to give the lives of animals precedent over the lives of fellow human beings, the world’s been turned upside down.

Just stop it, please.

« « Previous Post: What you didn’t say | Next Post: The clarity of light » »

11 Responses to “Pardon me while I rant incessantly: Anthropomorphizing your pet”

  1. SimplyDarlene July 16, 2012 at 11:02 am #

    Excessive laughter is swinging wildly from the rafters ’round here! What lunacy.

    (and i wonder what sorta stuff was smeared on cat girl’s nose to get that blasted feline to lick her nose. that’s just gross)

    Whew… I’m so glad you keep me up-to-date on the TV crapola that I’m missing.

  2. okiewife July 16, 2012 at 11:30 am #

    So…some common sense about feeding our pets. I love our little ankle biter (ha) but he’d eat just about anything dead and smelly if We didn’t keep watch. I have family who need to hear this rant, thanks Kathy.

  3. Jason Stasyszen July 17, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

    So I think I’ve mentioned it before here, but those commercials where Sarah Mclachlan sings while they show sad animals? I think, “yeah, let’s worry about the sad pets before we take care of kids dying of AIDS in Africa.” It’s just crazy to me (not to mention extremely heavy-handed) to try to pull on people’s emotions that way, but I’m sure plenty of people fall for it. Okay, I’m done…

    • katdish July 17, 2012 at 2:43 pm #

      I read a 2008 statistic that America has 3800 animal shelters and 1500 women’s shelters. That’s messed up.

      • Jeff July 18, 2012 at 9:40 am #

        It may be out of balance, but those commercials still make me sad.

        I really liked this post, totally agreed with it, and then I had a thought. Doesn’t your dog have his own twitter account?

        • katdish July 18, 2012 at 11:16 am #

          Oh…well….that’s totally different…


          • Jeff July 18, 2012 at 12:11 pm #

            It actually it is, but I felt it was worth noting.

            I remember seeing people in the church directory – remember those? – who would pose with their dogs on their laps, because that was their “kid.” I always thought that was dumb, and when I pointed it out to my mom, for the only time ever, she didn’t correct me for calling someone stupid.

          • katdish July 18, 2012 at 12:16 pm #


  4. SimplyDarlene July 18, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

    Oh, miss Katdish, that link you gave is so ga-ross. Nothing like a feline bumm-business staring ya down. yikes.

  5. Annie K July 18, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

    A lady got pissy with me because I wouldn’t let her bring her dog into the restaurant. Tried to tell me it was a service animal. Really? A teacup chiwawarat? She left when I asked to see her service dog card – said she was going to write a letter to the company. I spelled my name out for her so she’s get it right.

  6. Shark Bait July 19, 2012 at 1:54 pm #

    Animals are people too. Except for chihuahuas; nobody knows what they are.

Leave a Reply:

Gravatar Image

XHTML: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>