Re: Pets Are Not Children

In regards to

Dear M.A. Wallace,

Having children is not a noble, selfless feat by any stretch of the imagination; it is done for only two possible reasons: to extend the lineage of one’s own self/family; and to fill a meaningless void in one’s own life. Which is not to say it’s wrong or pointless- to each her or his own.

It is, however, only from the means of white privilege, that one can assume that raising children is a joy that subsists above all, that is free of peril or a marginalized existence. But I digress.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’m not aware of the vomit and diapers and other countless tragedies that you have inflicted upon yourself as a result of your choice to bear children, it’s just that I recognize it as your choice. I also recognize my own choice, which is to be bound to litter and walks and feeding food that grosses me out at all hours of the day, on repeat for all eternity. For unlike children, there is never the hope that a pet will grow up and “repay” me for the care that I give them, or nurse me into old age. I never even assume that they will love me back. I hope they do, but even if they didn’t, I would love and care for them all the same.

Often, the best parents have both- that is, both children and pets. But then sometimes, they only have pets. I can’t commit to saying that sometimes they only have children because in my experience that’s not true. I much more value the parents who are teaching their children about selfless love through the act of adopting and caring for pets. And I certainly can’t say anything for those who are only concerned about their own values, and put down others because they dare to suggest their animals are AS important as family. People who have pets KNOW it is a completely different experience from having a child, though that’s not to say it’s any less rewarding. After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

The arrogance of your assumptions around what those who call themselves parents to their pets actually think is belittling, when they are merely stating their care for animals. We already live in a world that deeply devalues the lives of animals, and so long as this is the case the world will not get better- it will continue to reflect how humans are able to caustically treat other humans. Are us pet-only people confused about the difference? I doubt it. Even the most bare-brained knucklehead among us knows that we will never have to take our pets to school, and that they will cause us infinitely less irritations over our lifetime than a child.

There are vast and unaccountable horrors in this world, that grow worse by the second- why on earth would someone calling themselves a parent to their pet upset you in the least, unless it was a threat to your sense of superiority and triumph for merely having spawned a human? How very Trumpish of you.

Also: our pets’ “real” birth parents do teach them: they teach them how to eat, how to play, how to clean themselves, how to socialize with humans. However, because our cats and dogs are domesticated animals, if and when they do have to care for their babies without the help of humans, their babies are not likely to live long lives. Nor are they. Your altruism and sentimentality about being a “real” parent is dressed in naivety about the reality of animal rescue. To say that pets do not need us in any way is a grandiose statement that denies the daily horrors perpetuated against animals of all kinds, both naturally and otherwise.

And perhaps you can’t trust your children, but others can, despite the many flaws and changes that tiny individuals (much like full grown adults) exhibit as they make their way through this world.

So as I said before, there are worse things in this world, M.A. Wallace, and I would suggest filling your apparently idle time with some volunteer work to not only get a small glimpse of these things, but to perhaps help diminish them too.

Ellen Angelina

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