Pets bring us an extra dimension in our life. Pet owners often have great affection for their pets and treat them with loving care, as they do to the members of their family. Is this a bad thing? The answer depends on the degree and nature of this loving care.
It is quite good for a person to be fond of a pet and treat it accordingly. Medical research suggests that the fond association of a pet may prolong a man’s life and keep health in good condition. On the other hand, a pet gets a good home. It is, as if, a pet becomes one of the children of a family. It plays a more important part in those families of husband and wife who have no child. A pet owner says, “Nobody waits for me as my dog does.”
It is regarded as a good thing for a child to have a pet to take care of It teaches the child playfully a sense of responsibility for maintaining duties and to show affection to a dependant. On the other hand, it is found that people who have abused animals in their childhood, abuse others in their adulthood. So, pets deserve due affection and attention.
But the problems arise when the pet owners are too indulgent to their pets. The pets cannot understand what and how far they should do and what they should not do or what limit they should not cross if they are given to much indulgence. An overindulgent pet owner does not like the idea of his or her pet sleeping in a basket or on a separate bed, however comfortable, and the pet is often found sharing the owner’s bed. This practice is very unhygienic and it should not be encouraged. Letting a pet sit on the armchair just before an important guest is not such a good idea either. The pets, especially dogs, should be trained on how to behave.
It is all very well to give pets a few food treats as bait during the training of obeying commands. But if they are given food bites too frequently, they become too fat. Some cats and dogs are by nature quite greedy, and animal obesity, like human obesity, can lead to major health hazards. It is also not any favour when the pet owners give their pets food designed for humans. The owner may love chicken in a spicy sauce and cream-filled chocolate cakes, but these are very bad for the pet’s digestive system. They should be given simple food according to their requirement.
It is one thing to treat an animal with love and care, it is quite another to treat the animal as a human being with over-indulgence. This is the line that should not be crossed, though we see it is frequently crossed. Some pet owners even dress their dogs as though they were dolls fitted in knitted coats. When they have perfectly warm coats of their own, it is harmful to cover them with unnecessary extra coats, especially in hot countries. It is fine to comb the pet’s hair and keep it neat and clean, but not tying up the hair with ribbons for fashion only. Rather, it is important to take care of hair fall here and there as it is unhygienic.
Treating animals like humans in all matters and manners can have a very bad effect on their health too. Under the influence of such treatment, some dogs become aggressive or adopt other behaviour problems.
So, by all means, let people treat their pets with due care, kindness and love. But they must remember that an animal is an animal, not a human being. The nature of an animal and a human being has been differentiated by Nature herself. This principle should be taken care of for the sake of both the pet and the owner.