Tuesday, May 5, 2015


I love PetSmart. My wife loves PetSmart. My dog loves PetSmart. It's fun to shop there. We've done grooming there. We've done training there. The staff is very friendly. They somehow keep the place clean. They have most of the stuff we need, and some stuff we didn't know we needed until we saw it there, which is good retailing. Yes, I love PetSmart.

But I hate this:

and this:

He's my DOG. I'm his OWNER. He is NOT MY CHILD. He is wonderful and I dote on him and I blog about him way too much, but I am his MASTER. When I am not, and he gets away with things, we both wind up unhappy. I am NOT A PET PARENT. He is an ANIMAL. Yes, as a human, I am technically an animal too, but it takes a sentimental sap or an evolutionary biologist to be foolish enough to think there's no difference.

I used to say that people were very weird about sex, death, and money. I still believe that. But I think I may have to add animals to the list.

On the one hand, we have the ooey-gooeys, the ones PetSmart thinks they are marketing to, who have confused a domesticated creature with the children they did not have or do not get affection from. On the other, you have the evolutionary biologist, surely the most cynical creature in the world. who talks about the means by which our dogs learn to "simulate affection" (as one noted on TV the other night; did not catch the name of the show).

Presumably the biologist simulates affection himself on Mother's Day. After all, he thinks humans are just Animals 2.0.

Somewhere in the middle is the rest of us. And the Catholic Church:
The very essence of the moral law is that we respect and obey the order established by the Creator. Now, the animal is a nobler manifestation of His power and goodness than the lower forms of material existence. In imparting to the brute creation a sentient nature capable of suffering — a nature which the animal shares in common with ourselves — God placed on our dominion over them a restriction which does not exist with regard to our dominion over the non-sentient world. We are bound to act towards them in a manner conformable to their nature. We may lawfully use them for our reasonable wants and welfare, even though such employment of them necessarily inflicts pain upon them. But the wanton infliction of pain is not the satisfaction of any reasonable need, and, being an outrage against the Divinely established order, is therefore sinful.
So there's that.

We've probably all seen too many talking animal movies and books and TV shows. It's hard not to project human behaviors onto animals whether it's appropriate or not. Tralfaz looks very thoughtful sometimes, laying on the floor, eyes open, I can ponder what he's thinking, because I would be thinking about something while laying down and not sleeping. But he's not thinking. He's just there. He may be processing bits of information my senses can't even detect, but he's not thinking about people and events of the past or plans for the future. He's just there. But it's easy for me to imagine all kinds of thoughts in his animal head, and think of him as a little fuzzy person, and then go eat hamburgers. (And feed him meat.)

I'll say this: At least people who project human thoughts and feelings on pets and think of them as children, and are vegetarians or vegans, are consistent. Then again, you might say the same for an evolutionary biologist cannibal.

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