More Than Just a Dog

By Elsa in motion
Sunday, April 16, 2017

I'm so much more than just a dog! Every dog in the world is more than just a dog, this expression is almost always used pejoratively. Just a dog is an excuse for neglect, mistreatment and callousness towards us. Under the variation it's just an animal, the resentment carried by this sentence can be extended to all other non-human creatures in the world.

Elsa, an English Setter dog, smiling

Sorry about this week's rant but someone had the gall to say I was just an animal to my human, as she kept some food for me on the side of her plate. The human often separates a little piece of whatever dog safe food she has on her plate, as a treat, to give me when I finish my meal. The person who said I was just an animal implied I should only be fed whatever is unsuitable for human consumption.

Some humans try to embarrass other humans by saying their beloved pet is just an animal, implying that whatever given attention, food or care a pet gets is excessive and / or undeserved. This attitude also permeates the idea that the death of a pet is unworthy of human mourning. Many people find it difficult to mourn for their pets properly because of this.

How can levels of care and attention be measured and deemed reasonable or excessive, who has the authority to decide? When does a dog becomes just a dog, and why? Why would only human beings be worthy of mourning? How can someone spend years with a pet and not mourn their passing, such a lack of empathy wouldn't be very human though, would it?

...or you accept we are intelligent beings that should be respected and have the best care or you stand with Descartes who tortured live mammals to prove his point...
The human finds it upsetting, I find it outrageous. This same judging person thinks very highly of herself as above all animals, including humans.

The funny thing about people who live by the just an animal affirmation is that in many cases they think a pet is not supposed to eat food for human consumption or sleep on sofas, but at the same time they are sure that pets feel guilt or are capable of thinking and executing revengeful acts. It doesn't add up, or you accept we are intelligent beings that should be respected and have the best care or you stand with Descartes who tortured live mammals to prove his point that animals were mindless soulless machines and felt no pain.

Just to finish, an interesting article: Dogs, Cats, and Descartes by Marti Leimbach, about anthropomorphism, animal studies, behaviour, hormones, mind and body, plus the stubbornness of some scientists to accept that animals can think and have emotions. The author points out that until the late seventies human infants had surgery without anaesthesia because scientists believed human babies had no feelings either. I eat other animals, I'm a dog... but I believe all animals have minds.

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