Hello all. I hope you have had a good week! As you know, I get ideas for a post on things that happen in my own life (conversations, events, things I read, things I experience, etc.) This past week someone was talking to me about their pet and they used that three letter word “own.” I hate that word when people are talking about their pets. They may be “our” pet but we do not own them. We adopted them and brought them into our family. Do we consider our children something we own because they are ours? When we marry do we now “own” each other?
We do not own anything that has breath. What we have done is made a commitment. A commitment to care for, be there for, and be faithful to whether it be a partner, a baby we adopted, or an animal we brought into our home.
This is a serious topic, for me very serious. I literally cringe when someone uses the word “own.” My mission and logo is to “Change how the world views animals.” But I thought I would throw a little fun into this post. Who has seen “The First Wives Club?” Whether you have or not you may know the iconic song “You Don’t Own Me.” I challenge you to listen to the words when you play the video and to think of animals instead of a man. When you do you’ll see how this can be somewhat fitting to animals as well.
Thanks for reminding me that words have consequences. Much of what I say can be just the usual little snippets of conversation that I repeat over and over again and don’t really think too much about the actual meaning. As always great food for thought. Thanks so much for sharing.
I try to use words like caretaker, human and servant in place of “owner,” and it’s just fine aside from the occasional necessary grammatical detour depending on the context. Sadly, however, cats (and other pets) are property according to the law, so animals are always “owned” in the legal sense in the US and most western countries. In many other places, including most of Asia, animals don’t even enjoy that minimal level of protection.
Here in New York, cat “ownership” and animal abuse codes are all under the umbrella of Agriculture & Markets Law. That means animal abuse is separate from criminal law, and it’s treated as property damage, as if pets aren’t sentient beings with their own emotions, and as if pets are generic and replaceable, like toasters or TVs. That has other consequences as well, including the fact that many law enforcement agencies are reluctant to put significant time or resources into animal-involved cases because they know the most severe potential charges are misdemeanors.
Personally, I call myself my cat’s caretaker and his “big buddy.”