I think there's a book out there with a similar title to mine - How to Win Friends and Influence People, so I won't claim it as original, but it fits. (did you know you cannot copyright a title? Yep... titles are free to repurpose! LOL)
Anyway, I am really going to write about the opposite of making friends and influencing people. So, the title should really be...How NOT to Make Friends and Influence People.
The idea for this post came to me from my good friend and colleague, Carol Bryant of Fidose of Reality. As many of you know, Carol's heart "beats dog." She loves her Dexter, a cocker spaniel, with all the force of any mom. And why shouldn't she? Dexter is her boy.
Someone who reads Carol's blog took her to task for treating Dexter like a child. And referring to him as her son. Because, as we all know, animals can't be children. Animals should NOT be compared to people. Animals are expendable.
I take umbrage with that. I bristle when people say things like that. I get downright angry when human beings act as if we are the owners of this planet and the only creatures who matter.
WE are here at the behest of nature. Or God. Or the Force. Whatever you like. But, we are NOT Gods ourselves and WE do not command control of the universe. Whatever force gave us this planet entrusted us with its care...which includes all the creatures on it. And, in caring for the planet and all the creatures on it, it's our responsibility to treat all creatures with respect, love and value. All of us, all the creatures of the world, have value. One is not more important than the other.
Okay. Here's the rub - when we pet parents refer to our pets as our kids, some folks with human kids get annoyed because...well, pets do not matter as much as human kids. Pets, as I said above, are expendable at times. Human beings are not. This is how society has lived for thousands of years. We exalt ourselves and believe we are above the 'creatures' of the earth. We are taught this in church. Where our religions are the rule of the day.
And therein lies one reason I have serious issues with 'church'. And the concept that one religion is better than another. And that some religions treat women and children the way we, here in the U.S., treat animals. Sigh.
Back to the subject at hand - the identifying your pets as children, when they are merely animals.
The person who commented on Carol's post and took her to task for calling Dexter her son, identifies herself as "arealparent"... which I could take issue with, given her flawed thinking on this subject, and she says, in her comment,
"The rest of us will continue to understand collectively the difference in love, satisfaction, and genuine commitment to have actual kids. There is NOTHING comparable in the world. Until you know it and are responsible for it please keep this kid of drivel to your selfish selves whether your blog is committed to such bs or not."
That made me laugh out loud. Cause, folks, I have had three human children. I know of the deep, consuming love you feel when that baby is born and as he or she grows to adulthood. As do many of us with pets. It is TOTALLY comparable to loving your dog or cat or whatever pet you own. What that person wrote, I believe it's a female, is all BS to me. Because SHE lives in a world where people are allowed to treat animals as 'things'. Which they are not.
And talk about selfish! How selfish is it when human beings believe they rule the universe? How selfish is it when human beings act out of "entitlement"? Case in point: the horrific situation with Cecil the lion.
Really? That dentist was entitled to his kill? As Sir David Attenborough said in The Independent,
“Psychiatrists will tell you that to be able to give death gives you a sense of power, and to seek after power is one of the fundamental urges of humanity. Back in the 1920s, London Zoo had a bull elephant that was very dangerous and had to be put down.
“That fact became public and the zoo had a lot of calls from people, saying, ‘I’ll give you £100 if I’m allowed to pull the trigger’. This is about humanity and the terrible state of the human psyche, not about conservation or anything.”
The key phrase there, to me, is "to seek after power is one of the fundamental urges of humanity."
So, when you have no power over people, you seek to have it over animals. You degrade them into less important members of this planet, and you Lord over them because...it gives you power.
The woman who criticized Carol wants power over people... but she's a mere player on this stage we call life, and her only power can be over animals...well, and children. Hence, her desire not to equate animals with children because...well, it diminishes her power overall. Children, as we know, grow up and begin to demand power also. Animals...pets...not so much.
This is fact, folks. I am interpreting things a bit, because I am only human, after all. But, how sad is it that people cannot allow other people to love and live as they choose - when the loving and the living is only helping the universe, not harming it?
The vitriol spewed by people like that woman is a major part of what's wrong with this world.
I say, if you want to know how to make friends and influence people, come to the pet community and watch us give respect and love to all creatures...not just those that walk upright on two legs. We value the planet and all its inhabitants.
How wonderful would it be if more humans could embrace the order of nature - to treat animals with the same respect they treat each other? Nature, who rules all, folks... yes, Nature does not play favorite - human or animal, Nature treats us all the same...gives us example after example, and yet... women like "arealparent" claim to know better.
I am a pet Mom. I love my animals with a deep abiding sense of care and responsibility. Just as I love my human kids. And yes, in the case of a fire... I'd rescue the most needy first...and if that's a child, that's what I will do. If it's a cat, then that's what I'll do.
Telling me NOT to love and care for my animals is tantamount to asking me to choose which human child I love most.
Not gonna happen. They are all stars in my heart.
p.s. this picture is from several years ago when Chester was still with us, and the cat is our Pandora, not Molly. If you want to understand how important pets are to some of us, ask my how I am still mourning the lost of my Chester... who left us far too soon. (Chester is the handsome boy on the left, with his face toward the camera)