It’s difficult for me to imagine a less useful thing, than to make fun of, or belittle those who love their pets—whatever type of pet they may be. I assure you that I have no intent so to do.
It is more than a little understandable that people form bonds with critters of various kinds. I have myself, in time past, had “friends” who “lived” in or around my house. As a rule, that meant the home of my family, either the one over which my father presided, or the one over which it can be said I did (and do).
You may imagine I am saying this in order to make a position plain so that people don’t assume I have ill intent towards such folks. Even more so, I know that people form emotional attachments with their pets. The result being that anybody who makes certain suggestions about either their behavior or how the ought or ought not treat or deal with their “loved non-humans” can and often will evoke an emotional response—and sometimes one that is quite strong.
You can be assured that I am not trying to elicit from anybody, either a mildly indignant emotional response, or one that is much more strongly or severely emotional.
What was said to this point though, is intended to be precursive to the main point of this article. The primary consideration for discussion, is what (obviously in my view), is the comparative “value” of human and non-human life.
I can already hear the grumbling, but this is such an important thing to me, that I feel very strongly about proceeding to discuss it.
I may not entirely understand how you feel about the non-human lives you love so much. That’s entirely fine. I don’t believe I need to.
I want to take a second to present you with a quick scenario; I ask you to bear with me.
I would like for you to consider any desperate situation, put yourself in to a place where there are two living creatures counting on you, one being a dog, cat or other such beloved creature, the other being your child or significant other.
The situation is such that you can save one or the other, but not both. It doesn’t take any genius to figure out that such situations occur. The obvious question is, “What now?” Do you save your child or life partner? Or instead, do you save the non-human entity?
I think I’m pretty well aware how most folks will answer this question. I would assume that most people would choose—not without trepidation and very likely extreme sadness, mind you—the human. If this is not the case for you, I suggest you might really think about that.
Here’s the thing, I have presented a situation where the lines were pretty clear. Now let’s imagine one where things are not so well defined.
Instead of your child or life-mate, replace the “human” element with a stranger who looks like someone with whom it a appears you could be great friend, yet have never actually met. In all of the exercises, assume the non-human to be a well-loved pet or companion.
Looking at the modified picture, I’m going to bet that the majority of folks will still be far more likely to choose the human over the non-human.
In fact, I’m pretty sure most folks would support saving a person who may well have only days to live and is not so wonderful a human-being over a non-human, even if it is greatly loved.
Like it or not, even the vast majority of folks with pets or companions that are not human and are very much loved and enjoyed, would almost certainly save or cause to be saved a human, rather than the revered non-human.
You can question the sanity and rectitude of such a decision as much as you like. Nonetheless, this is the case. And it’s not because the people hate, don’t like, and in many cases even don’t love their non-human “friends.”
I contend that, rather than their lack of love and care, it is because they far more count humans and their existence and worth to be greater than those loved non-human companions.
Again, I can well imagine that there are those with non-human animate companions who are grumbling loudly, but even so, I cannot imagine them not agreeing with what I’m asserting here. I want to make it crystal clear that I don’t at all berate their love for their non-human companions. Nor do I in any wise fail to accept, how strong such feelings might be.
I think everyone is well aware just how strongly many of those with non-human “friends” feel when it comes to those friends. And you can be assured I am not telling them there is anything wrong with those feelings. Even so, there are “levels and tiers” to life.
As much as most folks love their friends, they love their families more. Though many folks love cousins or uncles—even parents very dearly, they would severely grudgingly save their own progeny at the sacrifice of their less-close or slightly-less-loved or protected, family members.
Obviously, I would not wish upon any human being, any of the situations presented in this article. Nobody wants for others to suffer the horrible circumstances suggested. What I have done is strictly to present you with “though-exercises”—tools you can use to decide what is foundational to your beliefs. What I have done, is to provide you with “what-ifs” that will help you to “re-align” your thinking.
You love your various non-human “pals?” Great! You want to treat them in ways that others consider, “over-the-top?” Fine!
Though this is the case, I ask you to seriously evaluate not just what is more important to you, but to those are around you, special to you, loved by you.
It’s not just okay for you to love your dog, your cat, your snake, your lizard—whatever—it’s fine with just about everybody. Never forget though that your human family and friends almost certainly are more important (even though it often doesn’t seem like it a lot of the time).
Okay, out of time and words. Here’s hoping your time is good and that you’ve enjoyed reading.