I've overheard parents setting up *play dates* for their kids for the last few years and have to hide the smirk on my face, but when a stranger tried to arrange a playdate for their pup with Luka I didn't know what to think! I feel like it's bad enough that we need to schedule playtime into our kids already overscheduled lives, but are we to do the same for our pets? Whatever happened to turning the kids (or dogs) loose in the neighborhood to amuse themselves?
Truthfully, I don't believe it's wise to do either. Mostly I think we go too far to pamper and shelter our kids as much as we do. Granted, I don't have kids, so what do I know, but we all survived our childhoods, didn't we? Do we need to do the same to our pets? Can you believe that I had a stranger chastise me for having Luka at a street fair a few weeks ago because it was warm and "his feet must be burning up on that hot pavement!" Well gosh - get the animal cruelty people after me!
These same people would likely turn a blind eye to the homeless person they see each morning at the train station or the elderly relative struggling to maintain their independence. Do you realize that Americans spend 40 billion a year on our pets - to pamper them and send them to doggy day care and to feed them premium holistic food? Yet we have no sympathy for the underemployed, the children who live in poverty, or the elderly. Is it just me, or are our priorities fouled up?
I'm as guilty as the next person when it comes to spoiling my pets, but at least I think I recognize it for what it is. The NY Times article points out the hypocrisy in the choices we make - spending money to buy Halloween costumes for our pampered pets while countless other abandoned or unlovable pets are euthanised in shelters each year. Shouldn't we extend our concern to members of our own species just as willingly? Or perhaps more so?
Maybe it's only the (newly minted) social worker in me coming out. What do you think?
a return Visit
6 months ago