Oh dear. I hate to tell you, dear reader, but it would appear that Fluffy and Fido are about to join the in the increasingly tedious, gray, suck-the-joy-out-of-life ranks of the Politically Correct.
PETA – that august institution, the organization’s full title being People for Ethical Treatment of Animals – has decided that the term “pets” is derogatory, and we, the People, should use the term companion instead. If you’re not crazy about companion, then feel free to use “human-carer” instead.
Evidently “pet” has become patronizing, and even suggestive of the term “disposable.”
Now I don’t know where this union meeting took place, but I would imagine it was a clandestine basement, filled to the brim with a variety of cats, dogs, hamsters, mice, snakes, birds, the odd orangutan and a couple of cheetahs thrown in for good measure.
Evidently they were all very well behaved on this monumentally important evening when they would draft their Constitution of Fauna and declare that all animals are created equal, and people are, after all, animals, and therefore – with an ergo or two – it was declared that they were all equal to people.
Only Whiskers the white mouse and Peabody the reclusive owl were reported missing at the end of the evening.
Oscar the snake looked pretty smug, I must say, but who am I to point a finger?
Now I am an animal lover, and applaud their chutzpah in bringing this to the attention of PETA, but “companion” – really?
I can just see the online dating app now. My name is Flossy Cafoops, I love long walks on the beach, and quiet nights reading by the fire. I love outings with my companions Mildred, Ermintrude and Fang.
Or at the doctor’s office: “Now, Jenny, you really need to mingle more. Do you have any carers who can introduce you to some night life?” “Oh yes, indeed, doctor. I have David, Jessica, Michael, Fifi, Rover, Mittens and Mr. Puddles.”
As a person for the ethical treatment of people, I would like to put it to you that by enveloping our friends of both the human and lesser animal variety in one bunch, one might in fact be in danger of patronizing we people.
I mean really, love my cats as I do, I really don’t want to be thought of as a substitute cat. Call me arrogant if you must, but honestly.
I learned a wonderful word a long time ago, and it’s such a fabulous word to roll right off the tongue when you need it most. Anthropomorphizing. That’s what PETA is guilty of – imbuing our furry, feathered and scaly friends with human characteristics.
Now we may think the dog understands every word you utter, and that the cat is utterly enthralled by your reading Dickens aloud, but that’s not the case, I fear.
They will wag or purr if you look pleased to see them, they won’t if you don’t. That’s pretty much the gamut of humanity emanating from their canine and feline pores.
All they really hear is “blah, blah, food, blah, blah, walkies and blah blah vet.”
Annie Dear lives in Lee’s Summit. Email her at email@example.com.