It’s Sunday morning. I’m sitting in my favorite chair. Drinking coffee and doing one of my rituals… reading the Sunday New York Times.

My two frenchies, Josephine and Tootie are with me. Running and playing. I love watching them. It gives me such joy.

Today’s New York Times has an entire section dedicated to the science of our pets. It’s a fun, fascinating and sobering read.

One article in particular caught my attention. Linda Baker writes “Are we loving ? our pets to death?” It got me thinking… are we?

The piece breaks down the enormous popularity of dogs and cats. Far more than in the past and what we are willing to do for them.

The American Pet Product Association says we spent $136.8 billion on our pets in 2022. That’s up from $123.6 billion in 2021.

Toys Treats. Carriers. Enrichments. (I have recently discovered something called a Pupsicle. Today, I will be making more frozen rice and peanut butter treats to put inside them just to keep them occupied for twenty minutes.)

The question though… is it good for them? Is it good to treat a pet like a child or a member of the family?

I’m the first to admit that I have two very spoiled French bulldogs. Very. When Tootie lets out a cry of loneliness, I’m there in a second. When Josephine starts shaking in fear for no reason, I pick her up to calm her down. My dogs may not be well trained, but I sure am.

Is this a good thing? Yes, my life is better having them in it, but is theirs? That’s the big question.

The article talks about how in the effort to humanize our pets, we may have gone too far.

When I was a kid, I had a Shetland sheepdog named Peppy. Great dog. He never came into the house. He lived in a pen outside our house. I played with that dog everyday.

I can’t imagine leaving Tootie and Josephine outside for more than fifteen minutes. Their flat faces won’t allow them to breathe in this heat.

Im guessing dogs were probably meant to be outside and run and play. My two go on walks a couple of times a day for just a few minutes. That’s about all they can take. I’m thinking that maybe that breeding of frenchies should not have even happened.

Don’t get me wrong here. I love these dogs and I love our situation. I’m wondering today though if they do?

When we lost our other frenchie, Coco, last year, I grieved as much as I did when I lost my parents. Don’t tell anyone, but maybe more. To this day, I can’t look at her photo without crying. Yep, Coco was family.

The piece quotes Dr. James Serpell. He’s a professor of ethics and animal welfare at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. He gives this advice.

“By all means, enjoy your dog’s companionship. But dogs are not people. Get to know the animal from its own perspective instead of forcing them to comply with yours. It enables you to vicariously experience the life of another being.”

We are leaving town for a few days for the 4th. Tootie and Josephine will be going to sleep away camp. I will check on them at least twice a day. They will send pictures to prove they are okay.

I am that kind of dog owner. Today, though, I’m thinking should I be? Am I loving them too much?

3 thoughts on “Loving them too much?”
  1. Don’t know that you are loving them too much. The best thing is they give you something to love and share with. Yes, you have a partner, but the dogs give unconditional love back to you.

  2. No no no! You are not. They want to be family. Mine is a bird. Before passing away, my husband and I had birds, one for 26 years, the next for 13, (died of an impacted egg, we didn’t know), then I lost my Bobo (husband) and the bird at the time was a man’s bird and it didn’t take him long to figure out I was not a man. The third time he attacked my right ear, he was gone. To a good home, a man that seems to love him. Then I had to have someone, so here comes Tinkertoo, a cockatiel, white pale yellow. I called it a boy for two years because I didn’t want a repeat of the egg issue. Just before the 2nd birthday, she gave me an egg when I returned home from work and proceeded to lay four more. So now I worry about eggs. Anyway….. our pets are family. Otherwise, “we” wouldn’t have one (a family) would we? I love you so much Russell. I’m 82 yesterday, but you are not allowed to retire until I’m gone. Just sayin’.

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