Owners vs Lovers

Okay, so after talking to someone today about “rehoming”– let’s be frank, a great deal of the time that’s just a euphemism for “getting rid of” – pets, I feel the need to rant a little bit.  This particular conversation was about a horse, but it could easily have been about a dog, a cat, or any other animal.

If you were to ask a horse owner what they think of their horse, you will probably get a response like, “Oh, I love my horse!”

That might be true, or it might not.

There is a difference between horse owners and horse lovers, and a lot of people who say they are horse lovers – or even think they are horse lovers – really aren’t.

Loving a horse – or any pet, frankly – means providing for it fully and unconditionally. If there is a food shortage, lovers will make sure their pet was fed first, before they eat themselves. They ensure that all of the animal’s needs are accounted for…in a financial pinch, a horse lover would make sure his or her horse is taken care of before spending anything on themselves.

Ah…now there’s the rub. Who these days, in this economy, is not feeling a bit of a financial pinch? And pets can be expensive to care for.

People who can no longer afford to take care of their horse, or other pet, have no choice but to “rehome it,” and here I’m not using the word “rehome” in a judgmental or derogatory sense. If someone absolutely can’t feed their companion animal, or afford to take it to the vet on a regular basis, a good home where the pet can be taken care of must be found. It’s the responsible thing to do.

Now… a horse lover would take the time to do profile checks and screen any and all potential buyers. A horse owner, at least in my experience, just sells to the highest bidder – not really seeing or caring what might be in that horse’s future.

Now I’m not sure whether you are aware or not, but there are specific auctions just for horses. I’m not talking high-class auctions. I’m talking loose horse auctions where horses are sold by the pound. To a horse lover most of these “events” are an abomination. Abomination is the appropriate word. A horse lover would never subject their beloved horses to the degradation and horror of such things.

A horse owner, well they just see it as a way to squeeze every last penny out of their property. Or they just think it’s easier and quicker than selling/rehoming the horse on their own and just want rid of it as quickly as possible for whatever reason.

These folks will exclaim that there’s nothing wrong with these auctions! It’s a good place for the horse to have a second chance or find a new home!  And as they ship their horse off to these meat auctions, they will swear up and down that they just looove horses. Yeah, right.

This isn’t just something that can be applied to horses. Dogs, cats, gerbils, any animal under a person’s care falls into the same lot. There’s a difference between owning something (and loving it as an investment or “thing”) and truly loving it (as the feeling, sentient being that it is). The line gets a bit blurred sometimes what with all the debate that rages on regarding animal welfare and animal rights, but it’s there and always will be.


Animal Lover, Seriously!? (Or, Life at the end of a 5-ft chain)

Have you ever known someone who has a beautiful vintage car that they keep under a tarp in their garage 364 days of the year? Or a person who has shoes that are so precious they only wear them in the house? How about a friend with season tickets even though they hate sports? The common thread in all of these revolves around having something that is absolutely great and not using it to its potential.

This same cockeyed mentality applies to someone who has a dog that they keep outside on a chain, during rain or shine, hot or cold, livable or insufferable. Apparently tying the pet to a chain and keeping it out of sight is their idea of proper ownership. I think it’s insane and it pisses me off whenever I see a living creature being treated so poorly. Treating a dog that way is pretty much just keeping a prisoner in your backyard. Imagine how horribly mundane and boring the dog’s life is if it can’t move, can’t run, can’t explore, can’t experience new things, can’t interact, can’t receive love.

Better yet, imagine how happy you would be if you had to stay in the same tiny room with absolutely nothing to do every single day. You wouldn’t be able to move or walk very far to relieve boredom or get exercise. Plus, it might rain on you. And it might be freezing. And no one cares. And you have no choice in the matter. Does that sound like a fun way to spend the one life you’ve been given?

What really gets me are those people I like to call “pet care hypocrites.”  These are the people I know who own both a dog and a cat, yet for whatever reason offer up love and care to one and simply ignore the other one entirely. The cat (usually plural) is treated like a Fancy Feast Commercial inside where it’s comfy and cozy, while the dog is curled up on a patch of mud in the backyard, shivering in its makeshift doghouse as it lives out its entire life at the end of a 5 foot chain. Yet, because said person adores cats, they say they’re an animal lover.  The contradiction shocks me. It’s okay to treat one of your pets extremely well but not give a shit about the other?  Some animal lover.

I guess all I’m saying is this:  love your animals equally and put 100% into it. If you have a dog, let him be part of the family, spend time with him and love him and let him love you.  If you can’t do that, just do the dog a favor and don’t get the dog.

dog on a chain