3 min read (Articles narrated by Mabel)
As you might have noticed, I try my best to avoid calling other dogs ‘pets’. It’s because I know the term can sometimes be thought of as hurtful. It’s very common for people to refer to their companion animals as pets, but I’ve noticed the term becoming less common among dog parents. I don’t have an issue with the term, but let’s take a look at why some humans use it.
Why Could This Be Hurtful?
Molly and I have never really used the term pet often when referring to dogs, but a recent article about PETA made a bold statement about the term. Honestly, while what PETA stands for is good, they often go the wrong way about it. This is one of the times where PETA seems to be going a bit too far as usual.
According to them, the terms ‘pet’ and ‘owner’ are derogatory terms. They suggest that domesticated animals such as dogs and cats are like possessions, not living things. However, dogs are family members, not just an object you own, so I can see where they’re coming from.
For the most part, I agree that pet and owner aren’t the best words to use for your furry family member. But then I decided to research the definition of pet to help make my judgement better.
The Definition of Pet
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, here are the definitions of pet:
- a pampered and usually spoiled child
- a person who is treated with unusual kindness or consideration : DARLING
- a domesticated animal kept for pleasure rather than utility
The last definition is the one that refers to dogs and cats, but I have to say, the first two almost sound more accurate to how dogs are treated. We’re members of the family, and we’re often pampered and spoiled just like a human child would be. So, I see nothing in the definition of pet that actually makes it a hurtful term.
What are Some Alternatives?
What do you refer to your dogs as? If pet is harmful to you, there are plenty of other terms including dog, pup, canine, furry friend, fur baby, etc. And if you call your dog a pet, that’s okay too! As long as your dog is loved and cared for, that matters much more than the name you call them.
As for ‘owner’, I can understand why that might be hurtful to some dogs. I personally call Molly my mom, my human, or I simply just call her by her name. I’ve never really thought to call her ‘owner’ since I feel more like a family member than someone that’s owned by someone else. Then again, this term doesn’t bother me too much either.
No matter what words you use, always treat your dogs with respect. We’re a part of the family, and I think that’s much more important than worrying about a few silly words. Be kind to dogs and other humans to help make the world a better place! And most importantly, encourage dog lovers to adopt!
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