General Question

steelmarket's avatar

"Humanization" of pets? Is there a limit?

Asked by steelmarket (3591 points ) February 20th, 2009

Is there a limit in the treatment of pets as humans? What is your limit?

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33 Answers

steelmarket's avatar

As a background, here is what triggered my thoughts:

STAMFORD, Connecticut — Travis the chimpanzee’s relationship with his owner was closer than those of some married couples.

Sandra Herold gave him the finest food, and wine in long-stemmed glasses. They took baths together and cuddled in the bed they shared. Travis brushed the lonely widow’s hair each night and pined for her when she was away.

If she left the house alone, Travis would give her a kiss.

“If I left with someone Travis would get upset,” Herold said Wednesday.

Experts say the unusually human relationship would have been confusing for any animal. It may have also played a role in Travis’ savage attack Monday on Herold’s friend, 55-year-old Charla Nash of Stamford.

Dog's avatar

My dog does not bathe with me.

I treat my pets as pets. I do not expect them to fill an emotional need in me aside of their natural desire to be a compaion nor do I expect them to be a substitute for a missing human.

Grisson's avatar

I don’t treat my dogs as human. But I do anthropomorphize my computer.

For the dogs, I think it usually goes the other way.

I speak fluent dog, BTW, and I’m trying out for the part of Tenor Wolf in Paul Winter’s Missa Gaia.

peyton_farquhar's avatar

Once, on Amelia Island in Florida, I saw an older couple with those frontal baby carriers and I thought wow, aren’t they a little old to have young children like that? Then they turned around and I saw that they were actually carrying pomeranians on their stomach.

I was a tad appalled.

elijah's avatar

That woman was substituting the chimp for a man. It’s easier to own a pet than attempt a relationship with another human. Animals aren’t humans. They deserve the best possible treatment, but what’s best for humans isn’t what’s best for animals.

shamroch's avatar

I mean, I don’t care. There are limits for me personally, but other people can be as close to animals as they like, as far as I’m concerned.

Mr_M's avatar

I think people are trying to make some weird story out of the relationship between the chimp and the woman for no reason.

How many cat owners sleep with their cats? Dog owners? And some dogs get to be pretty big!

I’m sure the two didn’t sit naked in a tub. The description is exagerated. After all, she’s trying to promote her trained monkey. The brushing of her hair, I’m SURE wasn’t sexual like people want to make it. I’m sure he just put the brush to her hair.

And as for kissing her monkey (I know, that sounds funny), how many pet owners kiss their pets? And remember, this monkey was her pet starting as a baby chimp.

If there’s any weird story to be had, I think it was her stabbing the chimp and giving him Xanax. I don’t know if I could ever stab a pet of 15 years. I would stop it using other ways.

loser's avatar

Boy, that’s really over the top. What are people thinking?

jca's avatar

I don’t think animals like 200 lb chimps should be in homes where things like this can happen again. What if the chimp got loose and hurt a child? It’s crazy. I read that we think of chimps as friendly, because they “smile” and because they are often seen in shows and on greeting cards doing things like humans, but when they “smile they are actually showing aggression by baring their teeth, like dogs do. Gorillas are actually supposedly the friendly ones, but I would not want a gorilla in my house, either!

MindErrantry's avatar

@jca, I thought I read somewhere that the ‘smiling’ is actually a sign of fear…

essieness's avatar

Pets are pets. They’re gifts from God, perfect souls put on Earth to bring us joy. We enjoy their company because they’re perfect souls and we know they won’t hurt our feelings or any of the other bad things humans do to each other. But that’s where it needs to stop. These people carrying their dogs around in purses, or WORSE, walking them in strollers gasp is just too much. I’ll admit, I love my cats a LOT, but I don’t expect anything from them emotionally or pamper them. And they’re quite happy.

tinyfaery's avatar

My cats are like my children, and due to that, I’d say I do humanize them. Sure, I know they are animals and not humans, but I love them so much and would do anything for them. That’s ok right?

elijah's avatar

@Mr M (what goes between the Mr and the M? I cant get it red) there’s nothing wrong with a pet sleeping in your bed, or kissing it. There is a problem with humanizing an animal. If she honestly loved that monkey she wouldn’t of kept it in a home. It should of been in a nature preserve living like an animal. She obviously loved it, but in a selfish way. She put her own needs (of curing her lonliness) ahead of the animals needs(behaving in a natural way). I feel sorry for her because she doesn’t realize that by loving the animal to that extent actually hurt him in the long run.

elijah's avatar

@tinyfaery I completely understand loving your pets, I am one of the biggest animal lovers in this world. I love my little phoebe so much my mom thinks I’m nuts. But I always remember she is a dog. I wouldn’t give her wine, I wouldn’t make her a lobster dinner. Those things are for humans. When loving your pet becomes a substitute for human interaction, something is wrong.

Grisson's avatar

@elijahsuicide G/A Dogs and cats are far superior for curing loneliness and providing companionship.

Anyone who thinks a non-domesticated animal is a good idea for a pet probably deserves what’s coming to them.

Johnny_Rambo's avatar

My dogs guard my property and my person. They are rewarded with food, kindness and a home.

buster's avatar

I have a friend who has a Myspace page for his dog. I refuse to do that for my pets. That is just pure silly.

Grisson's avatar

@buster Awww! I have a Dogbook page for both my dogs. It’s silly, but I take pictures of them a lot and it has helped me connect with my neighbors.

BTW, I used to have a Great Dane named ‘Buster’. Awesome dog.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

@jca, that’s completely true, but i guess it’s the same thing with having people in your house. you never know when one of them is just gonna be driven up the wall and do something violent, even if they’re family/close friends/etc. i started off meaning this jokingly, but i am completely serious now haha

Adina1968's avatar

Exotic animals are wild animals. There is always a risk involved when you choose to bring them into your home, work with them, etc.. It amazes me that people are shocked when then attack. It is their instinct and it is their nature. I am not oppossed to people having them or working with them but there is an extreme level of responsiblity that comes with the care of such an animal. If we are talking about the chimp attack. Clearly the woman who owned it was neglectful and irresponsible. It is incredibly sad that someone else is paying a very severe price for her irresponsibility. They should throw her in jail. She has irrevocably ruined that womans life with her carlessness.

Mr_M's avatar

@elijahsuicide , there’s an _ between the Mr and the M.

Anyway, but this animal was a trained “show” animal that made these people LOTS of dough. However, I DO feel, if she couldn’t control the animal, he should have been caged or on a leash like an uncontrollable pit bull.

elijah's avatar

@Mr_M
Huh that’s funny I tried that before and it didn’t work.
Thanks for the info.

SuperMouse's avatar

The description you provided is, without a doubt, wwwaaaayyyyy over the top. I used to cringe when my father-in-law referred to his chow chow as my husband’s brother and my children’s uncle. I like Jack the Pug. I feed him, walk him (ok that would be exercise so I don’t actualy walk him), let him out, and clean up after him. But he doesn’t sleep with me and there is no way in h-e-double hockey sticks I am showering with a pug.

Honestly, that description makes me sad for the woman and the chimp.

90s_kid's avatar

Once you see my mom, no.
But my cat is very intelligent. We can communicate very well.

Mtl_zack's avatar

This question makes me think of that movie (true story) about a guy who was trying to save the bears in Montana or something. He got really attached to bears, and he was obsessed, like always recording them on his camera. He got too close and got killed by the bears he was trying to “save”. I put save in quotations because there was nothing wrong with them in the first place. The movie was Grizzly Bear

SuperMouse's avatar

@Mtl_zack that guy seemed like a real wing-ding. He actually thought these wild bears were his friends – that is until they ate him. It is a fascinating documentary though.

poofandmook's avatar

I don’t know if I humanize my cats… they are like my children, and I talk to them all the time, and I love them like children… I call them “babies” and “mama’s babies”... but that’s about as far as it goes.

90s_kid's avatar

@poofandmook
My cat is like my baby sister.
Wait, did I say that in public? 9:

I think we better discuss this topic with Paris Hilton, and Mariah Carey.
She made a $10,000 replica of her house for her dog! And, dogs were not allowed on plains, so she had her dog im a Limo from the East side to the west side of America!

fundevogel's avatar

It’s like in Pretty Woman:

Anything goes, but I don’t kiss on the lips.

cricketonastick's avatar

I have a friend whose mother buys steak, grills it, and chops it up for the dog. When my friend comes home sometimes and browses through the refrigerator, she finds things that she wants to eat but isn’t allowed to because it is for the dog. THIS IS WRONG! STOP THIS IN YOUR COMMUNITY TODAY!!!

fera's avatar

I think many, many, many people go too far with their animals! Some people even set a place for their pets at the table, and once I saw a woman sharing a sandwich with her horse..she took a bite, and then the horse took a bite (a slobbery bite!) I was disgusted! But..people can pretty much do what they want I guess..I for sure do not humanize my pets though! I love them, but they are pets! lol

roxanna's avatar

my dog is my DOG ,we walk together, we play together , i look after her, she looks after me, (making sure i get my daily exercise) she does not sleep in my room ,and i don’t sleep in her kennel ,and we are both happy with this arrangement.

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