NROP: Animals – why we need them and how to treat them.

Furbabies.

Have you heard that term before? I find that it has grown insanely popular in the past couple of years. When people talk about their pets, they often refer to them as their “furbabies.” Bumper stickers announcing to the world that the driver’s furbabies are loved are not uncommon. It is a trend that I do not quite understand.

In the beginning, it seemed like the term was used by people who did not have kids of their own. I had encountered single women calling their dogs and cats furbabies. Even though I would wince slightly, I tried not to show it. It was obvious that these women lacked something in their lives, so they filled it with their pet and the furbaby label. Not too long after that, I noticed childless couples using that term. Again, it sounded strange to me, but since not everyone can have kids, I was glad to see them happy with their “furbabies.” However, since then, I have heard married couples with kids and grandkids use the term furbabies. I guess it has caught on. Although, my partner and I both love animals, we find it weird and agree that we would never call our pets that.

The founder of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) wants to change the way we talk about our pets. To her, calling our dogs and cats “pets” is derogatory. While I can understand that that term can somewhat objectify our house animals, I do not think that her suggestion of using “animal companion” is any better. To me, an animal is a wild thing. It is something that is hard to tame and might be potentially dangerous. A pet has a higher status for me than an animal.

We are asked to call ourselves “guardians” rather than owners. Again, while I understand the premise, I am not sure that I agree. Do we buy our pets? (Yes.) Do we do that to set them free? (No.) Therefore, I believe we ARE their owners. Will you lead your dog by the leash or will they lead you? We might provide shelter and food for the dog, I do not see humans as guardians. At least not of dogs. Why do we see signs on fences announcing that a dog lives there? Because it is the dog that is our guardian. There are dozens of stories about dogs and cats alike saving their human’s lives.

Why do words, terms, and labels matter? Apparently, PETA’s representative argues that it translates into the way we treat our pets.

If you would like to see an interview with a PETA representative on the topic of changing animal-related phrases we use on a daily basis, take a look at this video (2:12 in). It is rather entertaining.

This is a post about animals. The featured photos says so, so does the title, and so does the content (so far). However, this post will not be complete without me mentioning what is currently EVERYWHERE. We hear about it on the radio, we see it on TV, we read about it on the Internet. It jumps out at us from our fridge. Well, almost. What is it? Coronavirus, of course.

How is the disease tied to pets? A young woman in Wuhan refused to evacuate without her cat. She is a Canadian citizen who is currently stranded in China because Canadian authorities will not allow her cat on the plane. I am not sure why exactly that is. Can they not test the cat for any illnesses to make sure it will not bring anything contagious? She said she could leave the cat with her friends, but chooses not to because she is not sure when it will be safe to return.

Because of the virus, a temporary ban on catching, selling, or eating wildlife has been imposed on the Chinese people. Unfortunately, not everyone adheres. Hundreds of people have been arrested for not adhering to the ban. The police raids have gathered 40,000 animals including squirrels, weasels, and boars.

Although we are not 100% certain of what caused the viral outbreak, scientists think that it might have been a disease we contracted from bats via pangolins. Their scales are used in Chinese medicine.

Things like the coronavirus are a great time for people to fight one another. Some people suggest that it is all because humans think they can eat anything and that the animals are here for us, while others insist that we need to share the planet and stop eating animals. Why is no one worried about us eating all the plants? Have you thought about the food chain? If we eat all the plants, what are the herbivores of the animal kingdom going to eat?

Among all those squabbles, there is a story that inspires me. A couple from India spent the last two decades buying land around a tiger reserve to help the animals. What do they do with the land? They allow trees to grow, making it a great area for tigers to hang out. In the past, the predatory animals would venture out to nearby farms, scaring people away. Now that they have more land to themselves, they stick to their own area. The tigers can just be themselves there – relaxing, catching prey and drinking water. All of that without getting disturbed by humans. The reason why this story is so inspiring to me is because this couple took matters into their own hands. They gave more space to the animals without asking anyone to sacrifice anything.

If you want to know how crazy a squirrel on drugs can get, read my article NROP: Humans – the masters, the idiots and the killers; How do animals fit into that?

Do you call your pets furbabies?

What do you think of the term “furbabies?”

How do you call your dog/cat when talking about them to others?

What do you think of the suggested terms?

Do you think changing the way we speak will change the way some people think?

Would you leave your pet behind if you had to evacuate?

Do you think we will become disease free if we stop eating animals?

Stay golden,

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77 thoughts on “NROP: Animals – why we need them and how to treat them.

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  1. Well my friend, as much as you and I are usually in sync, this is not one of those times. I have 4 fur babies, and they ARE my children. I have always had fur babies and never wanted the 2-legged kind of children at all. My fur babies love me unconditionally and are always there for me. I will do anything in my power to keep them safe, happy and healthy, just like a regular mom would. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I think more people beginning to think of their cats or dogs as family. I know I do, it is not a replacement for children they are just a wonderful addition to the family. For me they are my family and I love them as such. More people are starting to see their extended family as having personalities and skills instead of a being which eats sleep and goes out. In the past I have had dogs and now I have cats both are good at guarding, loyal to their family. I would not leave my cats they are my best friends. They are important and leaving them would break their hearts. I know for sure they would not survive very long without me.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I will buy one of those Sphynx cats and call her “furbaby” 😉

    I always ask Jasper how he would name the dog we see walking on the street.
    9 out of 10 times he says “Spot”, except for with a Golden Retriever.
    He’d be name Goldie, which reminds me of you and makes me smile.

    The suggestions from PETA are insane to me.
    Have animals also started using #MeToo?!?!?!
    I mean, honestly, “take the flower by the horn”?!?!
    Poor flower! Shame on you PETA!

    Aren’t more of the diseases coming from bats and rats instead of farm animals?

    As you know, I am a vegetarian. But I am not going to judge people on whether they eat meat or not. In fact I wouldn’t even recommend it. Being vegetarian won’t do your iron level any good.
    And neither I’d be judging people whether they buy organic food or not, because meanwhile everything becomes more expensive, I haven’t seen my pay being increased.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There you go!

      You made me laugh with the “Spot” comment.

      And to let you in on a little secret – there is a golden retriever dog in the book I’m writing and his name is Goldie. It’s a bit of a cliche, but it works.

      Yes, exactly. I’ve questioned feelings of inanimate objects in the past, but this is going overboard.

      You almost made me cry regarding the pay increase. Well, I exaggerate a little, but still. You are spot on. We are told not to expect raises. I agree. One should have to work hard to get paid. However, when your raise does not even cover the increase in shelter/food prices, it definitely doesn’t make you “grateful.” Instead, you become resentful.

      Like

      1. Aww that is such a great idea! Now I really can’t wait for the book. I am so curious!

        Jasper, who has studied economics, always murmurs something about inflation in the beginning of the year. Our landlord has announced that the monthly rent will go up.
        If only the company would be so “generous”.
        I know that, during a job interview, they always promise that your salary will be reviewed after a year, but that is a BIG FAT lie. How about giving me that extra money immediately and you don’t have to worry about it in a year?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. All of the talk about re-evaluating after a year and stuff is BS.
          While the raises might be nice for people who have a mortgage (same rate), it’s silly for renters whose rent goes up every year by way more than the raises are.

          Like

  4. Although Poppy has completely turned me into a dog person, I have my limits when it comes to how far I go. Lol, she’s so darn cute…see? I was having a conversation not long ago about how in one time of my life dogs and cats just seemed to be around and not considered a part of the family as they are nowadays. Most, not all. But, now it’s a whole new dynamic and people treat their animals just like they would their kids, medical insurance, day cares, specialty foods…a bunch of things have changed. All good and to each their own, though their are some things I feel are over the line.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There has definitely been a shift in the way we treat pets. It’s definitely interesting to hear about people spending thousands of dollars on medical care for their pets. I understand that, though. You cannot let them suffer. You want to help. You want them to eat organic, too. They have allergies. I wonder how real everything is. Back in the day I did not hear about pets having allergies. What changed? It seems like food is the common denominator. We poison ourselves and them.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What would PETA have to say about reverse speciesism? With the occasional exception, I generally consider most if not all of the “lower animals” to be far superior to humans. Intellect and opposable thumbs don’t mean diddly-squat if all we do with them is fight, eat and screw. Not to mention, these evolutionary adaptations have obviously done nothing to “civilize” us. So that leaves adeptness at survival as the only gauge of a species’ worth. By that standard, even bacteria are far superior to us.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. My wife’s mother died. When we went to the funeral home to make arrangements we found that on one side human remains were managed, on the other side, pets. The attendant there admitted that more tears were shed on the furry side then the furless side.

    Pets are expensive, noisy, dirty, short-lived pests that break your heart. Who needs ’em? Not me.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. We generally don’t use the term Furbaby but I understand the sentiment. We refer to our dogs as “the boys” and they are family members. They are treated at least as well as the kids were. Could I leave my pet behind? I wouldn’t know until faced by the situation.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. 1. Not really. It’s a cute term & quite descriptive but, I just say “my Ollie”.

    2. Don’t care. People spend a rather large amount of time bent out of shape over “words”.

    3. See #1

    4. See #2

    5. Some might change. See #2, again.

    6. Nope. Kitty comes with me.

    7. Nope. One would have to have the proper understanding of how disease comes about. And, one would have to have the proper understanding of how this particular virus came about. Or SARS. Or MERS. Or ZIKA. Or West Nile. Or Ebola. Or AIDS. Or Lyme…ad infinitum…ad nauseam… A properly cared for human body, human mind & human soul will not get sick…in a proper world, NOT full of pollution, GMOs, EMFs, weapons of mass destruction and lab-created bioweapons.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Because his name is Oliver and his prior owners called him Ollie. My previous kitty was also an Oliver (previous owners’ named him, too). I changed his name to Pooh Bear because he looked more like a little bear walking up the sidewalk. He was a Manx, so, the short tail helped with the bear image.

        There was an episode of Starsky & Hutch where Starsky’s girlfriend has a Teddy Bear on her bed named Ollie. Then, there is Oliver Queen…Oliver Wendell Holmes… There appear to be several Olivers. I’ve only “known” the two cats.

        I say “my” Ollie because I am responsible for his wellbeing and he lives with me. I’m certainly not responsible for my across-the-street neighbors’ two cats.

        Many things. Too long a list to type here. It would take a lifetime to cover that.

        Language is but a tool we developed when we lost our telepathic abilities thousands of years ago. It started with cuneiform & pictographs and evolved from there. To further confuse, some words have more than one meaning (ex. flat), more than one spelling (ex. defense/defence) and more than one pronunciation (ex. nomenclature), esp. across differing languages. To get upset over words is a waste of time & energy. Understanding is key. The desire to understand is key.

        Changing the narrative or an idea or the way people think & view their surroundings is nothing but control…which has nothing to do with understanding.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. I prefer “gently held in high regard”. Actually, I am quite honored that Ollie seems very happy. He does much to get my attention, purrs when petted, bites me in a playful way (which can hurt but, if he meant to hurt, he could, easily), uses his box faithfully (and not somewhere else) and doesn’t attempt to tear up the house. It is a symbiotic relationship that can only work with kindness and the aforementioned understanding. Any person living with an animal of any species will ‘know’ that animal as the connection enhances both souls. And, another thing one MUST understand…THEY are from & of this planet. WE are not. We are visitors. They deserve all respect.

            Liked by 1 person

                  1. It’s not a theory, love. All flora & fauna are an extension of the energy & soul of Earth. You think we live on a dead rock? Now, don’t get me wrong…the bodies we inhabit are designed to be on this planet but, our souls are just visiting.

                    Mock me if you wish…still doesn’t change things. It is what it is.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    1. Please do not patronize me.

                      You believing in something does not mean that it’s not just a theory, I’m afraid.

                      No, I do not think we live on a dead rock. But why is the fauna from here and we’re not? Do you simply mean the distinction between us having souls and them not possessing that? Is it same to say then that even though our souls are not from here our bodies are?

                      Like

                    2. Patronize: To behave in an offensively condescending manner.

                      I didn’t mean to offend & it was not my intent to be condescending. I was merely explaining. But, it certainly isn’t the first time you have been offensive towards me. You maintain a blog and invite commentary, then proceed to get nasty with your audience.

                      I don’t appreciate another accusation being leveled at me for no reason. I’ve grown weary of the need to defend myself. Have fun with your blog and your writing. I won’t be participating anymore.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    3. I simply cannot remember the last time you called me “love.” In that context, I took it as condescending.

                      If me asking you not to patronize me is “offensive” to you, I do not have much to say. I definitely invite commentary. I said nothing against your views/thoughts. And I definitely did not get “nasty.” I’m not sure how you came up with all of that.

                      No need to defend yourself. You spoke your mind and I spoke mine. I’m sorry you think that’s a problem.

                      No matter what happens, stay golden!

                      Like

  9. I don’t like the term “furbaby”. It’s an animal not a human and there IS a distinction. Though I believe everything, from humans to pets to wild animals to plants should be treated with care and respect. The saying, “treat others the way you want to be treated” is something I think far too many forget. I don’t believe an animal should be treated with disrespect to its species by dressing it up in human clothes or by treating it like a human. A dog is a dog. It is happy being a dog. Do animals bring us great joy and happiness? Absolutely (for those who like animals). Does that make them human or human-replacements? No. Should they be treated poorly, tied up in a yard with no love? No. It’s all about balance. Respect the animal for what it is.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. This made me laugh.
    I don’t think anything of the term furbaby. I thought it was cute and never tied the two words together. Animals, like it or not, are not the same as humans. That doesn’t mean we can be cruel, for they’re beings, but the same as we can’t tear up grass for no reason. Animals have their own language. Plants have their language. Only inanimate objects don’t have any consciousness or being of sorts. I’m not sure what else I was going to say…
    Love, light and glitter

    Liked by 1 person

  11. My last dog’s name was Bigg, I called him Biggie, or My Biggie. I occasionally referred to him as my furbaby when I was referring to things like, I can’t go away this weekend, I have no one to look after by furbaby. I think politically correct language has gotten carried away sometimes, animal correct language sounds ridiculous. Have a great evening Goldie.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I don’t call them furbabies although I don’t mind when people call them furbabies. When I talk about my family’s pets (since I don’t have any) I call them by name.

    I don’t see the point of changing “pet” to “animal companion”. I feel like they mean the same thing and “pet” is so much easier to say. I also agree that guardian is not the same as owner. A guardian of a child to guardian of a pet is not the same. Being a parent guardian is so much responsibility of ensuring the safety of a child, to making sure they grow up to be decent adults.

    I see a point in using anti-animal language though. For me say using “kill two birds with one stone” or “beat a dead horse” sounds violent. But they’d need to come up with better alternative phrases though. I don’t like the “be the test tube” alternative.

    It’s interesting how this ties in with linguistics, how until you brought it up, I’m more aware of the image of two birds being killed with one stone versus only thinking more of its meaning “to achieve two things at once”.

    I think our language speaks a lot about our culture, so I wonder as our culture evolves to being more conscious/aware, how language will change too, similarly to how the pronoun they is being accepted as referring to he or she.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You make a great distinction. Yes, you have to care for and look after both pets and kids, but it IS different. There are different dangers associated for both. Raising a kid is definitely more demanding. And like you said – it doesn’t only matter in the moment, but it also impacts the future and the way THEY impact others.

      Interesting you say that. I never think of those phrases as violent or cruel to animals. I just think of its meaning.

      PETA (and other people) are trying to change the language, but I think the real problem lies in people’s psyche. You will not treat an animal (or anyone) well if you don’t respect them. You have to have it in you to want to be good. Words won”t magically change it. At least that’s what I think. I’ve never seen anyone kill 2 birds with 1 stone or beating a dead horse.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Do you call your pets furbabies?
    No, but I don’t correct others when they refer to them as such.

    What do you think of the term “furbabies?
    It doesn’t bother me.

    How do you call your dog/cat when talking about them to others?
    My kitties, my cats, or by their names/nicknames.

    What do you think of the suggested terms?
    They don’t bother me if others choose to use them, but I likely never will.

    Do you think changing the way we speak will change the way some people think?
    Nope. It’s all smoke and mirrors.

    Would you leave your pet behind if you had to evacuate?
    I’d like to think not, but I’ve never needed to.

    Do you think we will become disease free if we stop eating animals?
    LOL No. Vegans still get struck down by diseases. Case closed.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I don’t mind when people call their pets this way, but I’m wondering how far will it go. Will they call their pets “son” or “daughter” one day? Will they give them more rights as part of their family?

    I think we’re somehow crossing some boundaries set by nature. I’m totally for treating pets with due respect, taking care of them and making them feel loved. However, if people try to put pets and humans on the same scale, why do they decide to have “furbabies” over their own kids? Because the “furbabies” require less care? Because they will not hurt you with their words? Because they’ll never leave your nest? It sounds a bit selfish to me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. If I remember correctly, there have been instances in which people left their estate to their pets.

      Good question. People already refer to themselves “Mommy” and “Daddy,” but I’ve never heard anyone say: “My furson/furdaughter.” I guess it’s something to look forward to.

      And you ask some very thought-provoking questions at the end. I think there are different reasons (some more and others less legit) as to why people do such things. It’s definitely worth thinking about deeper.

      Like

      1. While I’ve also heard about instances when someone left their estate to their pets, I can’t really get how does it function in practice. How a non-human being can own or manage the inheritance? The only scenario I imagine is that there’s a kind of a human guardian who shall supervise it. But since the pet cannot be a decisional party for known reasons, doesn’t it mean that a new guardian becomes the formal owner of the estate?

        If I’m mistaken, then who inherits the estate from the pet if no children? Who’s decisional? Or shall the money be spent only to cater to the pet’s needs?

        Liked by 1 person

  15. I don’t really care what I call my dog but I think of him as family rather than a pet. I know I spoiled him and it’s my fault, he’s just so adorable. When I bought him I didn’t know how to properly handle dogs yet. He has an attitude but he’s very smart so I was able to teach him some tricks. I would never leave him behind. We’ve been through two strong earthquakes together and he was the only one I carried out of the house.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. A think it’s the connotation attached to the use of whatever word that says more about our relationship with them than anything. Someone could say “pet” and mean “an object that they can do whatever they want with” while another could mean “family”. I’m not too enthused by PETA’s approach to changing ways for some reason hahah

    Liked by 1 person

  17. This was highly entertaining!
    I’ve never used the term furbaby. I say “My Cat” or “Our Cat”
    My opinion is that PETA is being ridiculous and could use their energy actually making a difference where a difference needs to be made.
    I don’t know what I would do in an evacuation situation if I couldn’t take Cricket. I’ve never been faced with that decision.
    I believe disease is caused by many unknowns.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. hahahaha no that does not help but I have also been thinking about plants just because they cant bark or meow or express themselves in ways we can not easily detect that they like being eaten or mistreated as well….

        I remember while researching on the smell of freshly cut grass I to discover that the smell is actually a distress signal to warn the other grass to brace for a the lawn mower attack

        So they are sentient too

        oh and maybe we should take a moment to think about the sun which cant ever eat ice cream, where do we draw the line?

        ~B

        Liked by 1 person

  18. Eh, fur babies tend to not sit well with me either. Though I think of my pets as family members while they are with us, I cannot seem to adopt the fur baby term. They help me in more ways than one and while I have technically rescued each of them, they’ve each, in their own way, have done the same in return with their unconditional love. I give them a better life to be part of my family, and they enrich ours.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Like and respect animals (maybe fall down there on insect and slime life though), vegetarian, pet owner – but struggle with the idea of pets as ‘babies’.Anthropomorhising it inevitable – but here are limits.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I have log referred to my dogs as “companions” or “family members”. (Let’s be honest – I like them better than most humans.) I don’t like the term “dog owner” because it says to the world that I can own my animals. I don’t “own” them – we share a house and they are cherished, as all animals should be.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Some animals are definitely easier to love than some humans.
      Why is “owning” such a bad thing? I own a car. What does that mean? That I paid for it and it’s mine. Do I cherish and take super good care of it? You bet ya.

      Like

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