General Question

Siren's avatar

How much does your pet/animal companion mean to you?

Asked by Siren (3404points) January 18th, 2009

Can you love your pet more than human loved ones? If so, why do you feel that way? How far would you go to secure your pet’s health/well-being? Are there limits to how much we should invest in the care of animals, when there are human beings out there in the world needing our assistance/care/donations?

Do you resent going to your friend or family’s home and having to contend with their pet, or are you the pet owner always apologizing for your pet when people visit your home? What’s your take on the whole pet issue?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

62 Answers

WayToGo's avatar

I do not nor will I ever have kids. I am past that point in my life. I have a 6-year-old yellow lab who has turned out to be a dog. Great disposition and personality. She is a lot of fun. A lot of it is because we have spent the time working with her. My wife and I honestly love this dog. She has had leg surgery on each of her back legs for ligament damage. The total bill was over $6,000. But we never hesitated while making the decision. It was worth every penny considering how much joy and happiness she brings to us. And the rest of our family enjoys and welcomes her as theirs.

rooeytoo's avatar

Once upon a time I had to make a choice between a dog and a husband, I chose the husband and parted with the dog. Later the husband went too. I decided I would never make that mistake again. PETA is against pet ownership, I am against PETA, I will always have a dog or two. I own them, train them and am responsible for them. I like most dogs better than most people. My not having or having dogs is not going to impact the incidence of cholera, aid the world economic crisis, or feed the starving masses, so I don’t think in those terms. If anyone comes to my house and does not like my dogs then they don’t have to come back. It is unlikely that I would befriend someone who is not an animal person anyhow. Remember that old saying, “Love me, love my dog.”

mij's avatar

We used to have a little white cat called ” Rover ” When we were out or away somewhere she would patiently wait on top of our mailbox for our return at any time of the day or night, rain, hail or shine.
She would then hurry inside with us and snuggle up on a lap.
She came to us from a nearby house and we would return her to the lady who doted on her.
But ” Rover ” adopted us and was the best companion till her passing, she is buried under a big rock in our garden wrapped in her favorite bit of old blanket.
Our current cat ” Miro ” is so different, a bit standoffish but still a great companion.
We are baby sitting her for our son who lives next to a busy highway, not good for cats.
When ” Miro ” was a kitten she got hit by a car and we spent big $ putting her back on track. Was it money well spent, Oh yes.
I think animals and humans both get bad deals, so don’t be too quick to judge pets or owners.
Help them both if you can spare the time.

Cardinal's avatar

My pets are a big part of my world. I would enter a burning structure to get them before a Hell of a lot of people I know.

DrBill's avatar

Just like my child.

gailcalled's avatar

Milo here: Gail’s not bad.

dlm812's avatar

Growing up, I had anywhere from 9 to 15 pets at one time. My family has always had dogs, cats, rabbits, horses, and at one point in time, a turkey (which actually belonged to a neighbor, but who spent all of his time at our house – waiting for us kids to get off the bus from school to play with him). Naturally, I am an animal lover – and more importantly, because of how I was raised – I consider pets to be part of the family. Currently, my parents have replaced myself and my siblings (since we are no long living at home) with two dogs. Whenever any of us brings home one of our dogs, my parents call them the grandogs, and lovingly babysit and dot on them.

Also, while all of my pets are important to me (I myself currently have a dog, a cat, and two horses) I consider one of my horses to be my true “soul mate” in life. People in the horse world often say that every rider has a “once in a lifetime horse” just as people refer to human soul mates. I luckily found this horse when I was 10 years old. She was a Thoroughbred off of the race track, and we have been inseparable since my parents bought her for me. We truly understand each other. And, as odd as it might sound to others, I have measured every relationship I’ve had (since buying her) with the one I have with her – including friendships and romantic relationships with men. Nobody compared – that is, until I met my fiancee.

Basically, pets are essential to my life – just as friends, family, and lovers are. They embody every aspect of each of these.

Siren's avatar

Great answers everyone! Thanks for posting.

I have had many animal companions in my lifetime as well, and they have provided me with unconditional love. They each came with their own cute personality traits and I feel blessed to have had them in my life. I think the world’s a better place because of them.

@roeytoo: I don’t think PETA is against having pets per se, but more against puppy mills. I believe they prefer animals out in the wild in their own natural environment, which I agree with myself, but I know, and they have stated, that this is unrealistic nowadays in our concrete jungle. I know PETA is pretty much against eating meat (although a lot of supporters still do) and absolutely against using animals for scientific experiment. They also investigate cases of animal abuse, which is the main reason I personally like that organization. Here is a quote from their site peta.org

“We at PETA very much love the animal companions who share our homes, but we believe that it would have been in the animals’ best interests if the institution of “pet keeping”—i.e., breeding animals to be kept and regarded as “pets”—never existed.”

”...This is a “best case” scenario.”

“Contrary to myth, PETA does not want to confiscate animals who are well cared for and “set them free.” What we want is for the population of dogs and cats to be reduced through spaying and neutering and for people to adopt animals (preferably two so that they can keep each other company when their human companions aren’t home) from pounds or shelters—never from pet shops or breeders—thereby reducing suffering in the world.”

DrBill's avatar

PETA does that mean…
People
Eating
Tasty
Animals

Siren's avatar

ha ha….yes DrBill

90s_kid's avatar

Yes. My cat is treated like a sister. I talk to her and she talks to me. Well, not really, but she will meow if she wants something and I will follow her etc. And she knows words like “outside” and “dinner” “crackers” etc…
I LOVE MY CAT SOOO MUCH. We get along the most in my family.

Introverted_Leo's avatar

“Can you love your pet more than human loved ones?” It shouldn’t be possible b/c it just is plain weird, but I think it is, lol. Why? Because (1) they don’t talk back, (2) they listen to you no matter what you have to say, (3) they take your crap and still love you regardless, and finally (4) they don’t talk back.

…but maybe we’re just confusing “really like more” with “love more.”

Other people’s pets tend to love me for no apparent reason, and I never really have any problems with them. I rather like the slobbery/furry attention. And my pet cats are darling little angels. >>halo<< I never have to apologize for their behavior ‘cause they know I’d slap them upside the head if they started to act up. I’ve got them trained like that. :P

And I’m too lazy to answer the rest, lol. People can spend however much they want on their pets, so that’s their business (even if I wouldn’t agree with it since I’m a pretty frugal person to begin with). But I will say that I don’t think animals should ever be confused with humans, and vice versa, for the simple reason that they are not the same. If all you ever care about is your pets, then they may be the only things you’ll ever be able to fall back on in life…

DrBill's avatar

The reason a dog is mans best friend is:

The dog is the most forgiving animal in the world.

rooeytoo's avatar

@siren PETA has many faces, the one you quote is part of its PR persona. I personally do not want to be legislated into becoming a vegetarian or wearing plastic shoes. I am not necessarily in favor of arbitrarily “no-kill” shelters, but PETA shelters definitely go too far in the opposite direction. Pet population and control is a complex problem, but imho I don’t think PETA has the answers.

desiree333's avatar

I had a standard poodle named Sophie, I had her since I was less than one years old. We had to get her euthanized 3 years ago. She got a lump on her belly and the vet told us that it was cancerous. When we put her down the stupid vet gave her too much of the stuff that put her to sleep. She had a seizure and started convulsing because of the amount of drugs the vet gave her. Later we found out the vet gave her enough to knock out a horse. She was suffering so much and she was supposed to die in peace, but because of the neglegent vet she suffered at her death also. I miss her so much she was the best pet I have ever had, we had the closest bond possible. I remember the day we had to put her down I didnt know we were going to, and when I left that day for school I didnt want to leave her, its like I knew that it was the day she was going to die. Then later at school I got sent down to the office and I was told my mom was coming to pick me up I just knew something wasn’t right with Sophie. I would do anything to have her back or at least to take back all the suffering she went through. I think I love her as much as a human can love another human, she was my best friend.

Siren's avatar

@rooeytoo: Thanks for your comment, and you are entitled to your own opinion, which I respect.

Since I don’t work for PETA, I can’t confirm anything, just my own gut feeling (at the moment), and what I want to believe about this organization. I will continue to believe it until I learn otherwise.

@desiree333: Guilt adds so much more to the grieving/mourning process. I have had a similar experience with one of my pets. The old “what if”‘s and “I should have”‘s are hard to erase from our minds. Just remember that Sophie enjoyed a great life with you, and maybe, mercifully, she did not suffer as much as you imagine. I think you were a great friend to her and just try to remember (and laugh) about the good times you shared with her. That’s what I try to do. Takes time though.

rooeytoo's avatar

@ Siren If you want to learn more about Peta, here are some interesting websites to peruse. I completely agree with humane treatment of animals. I recently posed a question as to why people were upset with whaling but didn’t care about factory farming. Those who responded, for the most part, didn’t care about cows in feed lots, chickens in cages, or how they were slaughtered. Guess because they aren’t as cute as whales??? Anyhow PETA goes overboard and truly their final goal is to end pet ownership. I love my dogs I don’t ever want to be without one. I think when they tried to get Ben & Jerry’s to use human breast milk instead of cows milk to make their ice cream, it pretty much said it all!

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/unleashed/2009/01/peta-to-usa-net.html
http://www.petakillsanimals.com/
http://www.activistcash.com/organization_overview.cfm/oid/21

Introverted_Leo's avatar

@90s_kid: that’s interesting, but I’m not sure why you posted that, lol.

Siren's avatar

@rooeytoo: I think I will pass on those sites. I am personally more concerned about what PETA is doing for animals, than what they are not doing. For example, if it wasn’t for them and their investigators, who go out on a limb to uncover these things, we wouldn’t know what is happening at major pet stores nationwide, factory farm practises, research centers, amusement parks, circuses, and other places the public should be aware of.

I’m a person of action myself, and appreciate those who act, not talk. Granted, there are some things PETA argues for which I don’t agree, but I’ve been extremely grateful they did the undercover work they have and been a vocal opponent to the entire fur industry. If PETA has stepped on a few toes now and then, that’s part and parcel of what an activist organization does. I’m all for that.

rooeytoo's avatar

Don’t know how you can made an educated assessment without looking at both sides of the story, but if that’s the way you do, so be it!. Hope you enjoy your Ben and Jerry’s ice cream made with human breast milk, heehehehe!

90s_kid's avatar

@Introverted_Leo
You said animals can’t talk! :)

maybe_KB's avatar

P-personally
E-enternally
T-true
S-sunshine

Siren's avatar

Ummm…like I’ve written before, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. I believe that is what this site is all about. So, I don’t think there is a need to write comments like that. Moving on…

I wrote this question because my animal companions mean a lot to me, and I have friends and acquaintances who share a variety of views on sharing their home with an animal companion, and I am curious about what flutherers here have to say about it. I think it is truly fascinating reading everyone’s stories and comments.

gailcalled's avatar

I had a physical today, and my b/p was 110/76 and all cholesterol numbers super-good. I take no meds and am 72. Milo gets much of the credit, I think. Now, if I could only teach him to dial 911,,,

90s_kid's avatar

You’re 72?

gailcalled's avatar

@90’s: Surprise.

Introverted_Leo's avatar

@90s_kid: it was a figure of speech. :P

gailcalled's avatar

@Leo; No, it wasn’t.

90s_kid's avatar

@gailcalled
I know that it’s an extremely rude thing to ask a woman’s age, but I saw a photo of you somewhere you had the fluther tee on! and you didn’t look 72 at all. You looked much younger.

desiree333's avatar

@galicalled, is Milo your pets name? I have a dog named Milo.

gailcalled's avatar

@90s_kid: When that picture (with Ben and used for a fluther interview in Nov. or Dec. of 2008) I was not 72. I was 71. And asking is not rude at all. I am what I am.

@desiree333; Milo pére is my cat and Milo fils is my sister’s older grandchild. Milo pére is older and it does get a little confusing.

Siren's avatar

@gailcalled: Did you hear the (true) story of a cat that got caught up in a telephone wire and inadvertantly dialed 911? It ended up rescuing itself because the operator heard what sounded like someone choking and called the authorities. Firemen burst into the home and saved the kitty from it’s entanglement and possible stranglement.

desiree333's avatar

@siren, wow…

Siren's avatar

Yes, it was in the news several years back, on different stations, so it wasn’t an urban legend (although it would make a good one).

desiree333's avatar

I really want to get a bob with heavy fringe and lots of layers. I have a round face so I should angular bob. But I’m afraid I will end up looking like a boy like this or like this

90s_kid's avatar

Wrong thread, desiree.
But it’s OK because I have done it too much, though.

desiree333's avatar

oh shoot! I thought I was on my question, about hairstyles! wow thats embarrasing…

90s_kid's avatar

I have done this at least 5 time desiree! haha
Oh my God was that Paris Hilton? I hate that hairdo!!!

Introverted_Leo's avatar

@gailcalled: to be honest, I was only thinking about my cats, and they, indeed, don’t talk back to me. Though I was aware of the fact that chimps were capable of speech. With that in mind, supposing you had a talking bird or a chimp or other animal, then I guess you’d just be out of luck in that regard.

gailcalled's avatar

@Leo; ” supposing you had a talking bird or a chimp or other animal, then I guess you’d just be out of luck in that regard.”

I don’t know what you are referring to, but that’s OK. Out of luck in what regard?

Introverted_Leo's avatar

Having a pet that doesn’t talk back to you.

desiree333's avatar

@ 90s kid yeah unfortunately it was her. She looks like a 12 year old boy and Im afraid Ill look like that if I get bangs because all the hairdressers in my city dont know how to cut hair.

90s_kid's avatar

go to a different town?
:S haha
Ok then. What color is your hair?

desiree333's avatar

light brown with small blonde streaks, oh by the way I put up a description of me on my other thread “Any Good Hairstyles?” lol

90s_kid's avatar

Ooooh highlights!
See, what style are you going towards? Seeing you really makes a difference :S

ronski's avatar

Sometimes i think my cat is the love of my life…i’m positive he thinks so, considering he often times gets very jealous of my boyfriend and my boyfriend admits that he gets jealous as well. I think it’s all very hilarious personally.

Hinata_88's avatar

I have a Rottwiller and she means everything to me. As family and a friend.

desiree333's avatar

@90s kid, I just got bangs 3 days ago. Well if you want to know how it went read my question “what is wrong with hairdresseres?” or something like that. I am really fed up with these friggin people. Can they not cut hair without making a disaster. ok, I need to calm down before I start my little rant all over again As you can see I am not happy.

augustlan's avatar

[mod says] Please direct all hair related chatter to a hair related question. Thanks.

90s_kid's avatar

Oh this is the qrong question?
I am so confused!!!!

desiree333's avatar

well I wrote on this thread by accident writing about a new hairstyle and you started asking me about it or something, and yeah. but anyways yeah we are on the wrong question. this one is about pets or something. Im confused now too :o

VS's avatar

After the great pet food scare a few years ago, I refused to let GiGi eat dog food again. I did some extensive research about pet food in general, and came to the conclusion that I could make my own pet food. So when chicken is on sale, I stock my freezer and every other week, I make GiGi’s food for half a month. A whole chicken, boiled and picked and put back in the broth to which I add about two cups of rice (or brown rice if it’s on sale) and about two cups of frozen peas and carrots and green beans. I let this cook until the rice is done and then package it for refrigeration. I also bake her liver treats with chicken livers, eggs, cornmeal and all-purpose flour.
She has more toys than most five year-olds I know. She has a bed in each bedroom and spreads the love around by sleeping between my husband and me and at other times with my son.
It costs $50. each time she goes to the pooty parlor for a hair cut, shampoo and nail-cutting.
I have, in the past, and will continue in the future to plan family vacations around whether the rental is pet friendly. I will not kennel her while we vacation as a family – she is part of the family and likes to vacation, too.
So to answer your question about how much I love my dog, trust me when I say I really love my dog!

desiree333's avatar

@VS, although it seems like you do love your dog, you dont need to buy your dog so many toys. If you give her too many toys she may become aggresive and possesive over her toys. You are right about the dog food though, boiling chicken, vegetables, and rice apparently prevents dogs from getting cancer. You also shouldnt let her have so many beds. You need to have one den for her to sleep in because she will think each of the rooms she has a bed in she owns. If you continue with the toy and bed situation you may end up with a possesive, and aggresive dog. Although she is five years old so if she isnt already aggresive then maybe you lucked out :)

VS's avatar

Thanks, desiree333. She is a little possessive with her toys but in a playing way. Like if it’s on the floor, it belongs to her. And if you have it, it belongs to her. And if she can take it away, it belongs to her…
As for the beds, she sleeps with all of us and this has not presented any problems to date. Thanks much for advice though.

desiree333's avatar

@VS no problem :)

himenokuri's avatar

I completely adore my 3 cats and yes I love them more than some of my human friends LOL My cats always know when I feel really bad and then they come up to me and then they sit with me when I feel bad

Swervy's avatar

I have two gorgeous puppies and I love them so musch I would do anything for them. They are my only best friends. Since I live alone with my mum it is hard to make friends when I have been bullied right through school and after school. I have a dissabillity and I have trouble talking to n ew people and have a fear of changes. My dogs are my friends and they seem better than people.

gailcalled's avatar

MIlo here:

Gail isn’t too bad to have around, if she would just do things my way more often. Chow is pretty good (particularly since I have learned to come in at night only when she bribes me with canned salmon), maid service keeps the toilet area pristine, and I do have 20 acres of mice to amuse me.

It is irritating to have my nails cut and my stomach rubbed, but I try not to break the skin on Gail’s arm. And her external HD generates exactly the right amount of heat. I

I’ll keep her.

Siren's avatar

@Swervy: Sorry to hear about the bullying. The good news is, high school is not forever and there’s a whole new world out there for you when you graduate. But I agree that it sure is great having pets around who offer us so much love and comfort.

@gailcalled/milo: I am glad you tolerate your human servant so well. Many of us are lucky to have such a tolerant feline companion as yourself, with your very generous nature ;)

notabridesmaid's avatar

My dog is seriously like my son! First off he cost me 1500.00. Pretty hefty price tag for a dog but when I saw him I had to have him. He’s 6 years old now and I realize he was worth every penny. So much personality, great temperment, and if anyone is looking for a dog breed that is VERY lovable and affectionate. MALTESE. I have heard this from several other maltese owners as well. I went through a divorce a while back and my ex wanted my dog. I would have soooo taken him to court for that! But he gave in. And yea… I may like him more than some people. I mean dogs never remember or hold grudges for crap that happened before.They always greet you at the door as if they havent seen you in years. Whats not to love??!!

Dr_Dredd's avatar

I am single, so my bichon puppy Minnie is the only one to greet me when I come home at night. She’s always so amazingly happy to see me! She barks and prances around the room, and pratically hurls herself into my lap when I sit down. I just wish she wouldn’t use me as her chew toy. I think the world of her.

Minnie is the third bichon I’ve lived with. We had two at various times when I was growing up, and my parents have yet another one. (Named Max, so when he comes to visit it’s Maxie and Minnie.) I can’t imagine life without a dog.

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther