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The meaning of pets...
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12 Jan 2010, 17:28
Post Count: 11
So a couple of weeks ago around New Years one of my [drunk] friends made a comment that didn't sit with me very well.

He said "All animals are replaceable."

Now I don't have the slightest clue how that conversation started or where that comment came from (obviously wasn't paying attention) but I gave him a dirty look and went back to my own conversation.

This comment comes to mind recently because I have a 13 year-old Golden Retriever who, as I type this, is probably at his last days.

Over the last 3 days I havenít been able to sleep or eat and missed my first classes of the semester well considering staying home from work. And every time I see my dog try to stand up or fall because of his hip I start crying.

But this whole scenario struck and interesting topic with me, how do a lot of people see their pets? Are they just a means of fashion or status, protection, companion? Iím curious to hear about other people and their relationships with their animals.

Personally I was raised to see them as family members with their own personalities. And my dog especially means the world to me since heís was by my side from being moved to house to house in high school, to comforting me when my brother and mother died. Iíve even come to see my fish as a family member and he too has quite an interesting personality. I know neither one of them will be by my side forever however never in a million years could I replace either of them.
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12 Jan 2010, 17:57
Post Count: 1938
I would be lost without my cat. Absolutely lost.

Animals have observable personalities. This is a fact. What's also a fact is that you can have strong relationships with animals.

You should have told him that friends are replaceable too.
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12 Jan 2010, 18:37
Acid Fairy
Post Count: 1849
I've had two dogs; one that was older than me and died when I was 11, and another one that is now 10 that we had after Lucy. I only went two weeks without a dog and man it was difficult!

When our first dog, Lucy, a cocker spaniel died, my mom swore she'd never have another dog. She last two weeks before we got Polly, a springer spaniel.

Both the dogs I've known and the ones my mom has had before have had heaps of character. They are all very neurotic which is obviously down to our skills as pet owners, but they were also the most amazing dogs you could ever ask for.
My dogs have always been a part of our my family. As I type this Polly has just come up to me and rested her head on my leg; she wants her dinner haha!

It sounds like your friend hasn't had any pets because I don't see how anyone could say that. Animals are definitely part of your family.
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14 Jan 2010, 21:31
Post Count: 2651
I think that's the thing... people who haven't had pets DON'T understand. They don't understand that cats and dogs do have their own personalities and they do become part of the family. And how can you not become attached to a living being that is with you every day for 15 years? Our cat was virtually in charge in our house! He was the most intelligent and arrogant cat I have ever met and that was his charm (I of course do not tell my current cat that. He's the total opposite, a real softie). He was amazing. He died 4 years ago and I still miss him. And our dog who died the year before.

I think losing them (and having to have them put down... and in the case of the dog in rather awful circumstances) crushed my parents and I think it's the reason they haven't had pets since. They don't want to go through the pain again. I however think the pain is worth it for the years of enjoyment they provide.
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13 Jan 2010, 00:31
Post Count: 885
I'm like you. My pets are my family members. I got a cat when I was 3 years old. I named him Lucifer, after the cat on Cinderella. We had to put him down the weekend after my wedding, when I was 19 years old. I got this cat when I was 3. For 16 years I'd had him in my life. He was literally like my brother.. I had no idea what a life was without him in it. It was horrible to lose him. It's always horrible to lose a pet, no matter the length of time you've had them, because they're all like family. They have unique personalities, likes and dislikes, quirks. They're beautiful creatures. My husband and I currently have four dogs, a cat, a bunny rabbit, two ducks, and ten horses. They ALL have personalities and things that make them, them. Including the rabbit and the ducks ;). I don't know what I'd do in a world without my pets!
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14 Jan 2010, 03:25
Post Count: 20
I have a 1 yr old little Chiweenie (Daschund/Chihuahua mix) and she is my BABY!! I love her to pieces! IF something were ever to happen to her I would be devestated. I cry everytime she is ill or upset and I can tell when she is happy or sad about stuff. She has the biggest little fighter personality like she is so playful and sweet and I would do anything for her. If she needed a heart I would find one for her because she means the world to me!

We had a Lhaso Apso (sp?) from the time I was in 4th grade until just earlier this year when we HAD to put him to sleep. But he was abused as a puppy and we rescued him from the shelter and he eventually warmed up to us and became a good dog for the most part. HE still hated for people to yell or stomp or kick and would bite if you kicked at him or yelled too much from his past. I mean, he was in a state of torture from that, just like a person who is abused would be! But he was SOO protective and would never let anything happen to us. He was an awesome dog. And when my mom called to tell me he was put to sleep, I cried like a baby because he was like a brother in a sense. It was just sooo sad for me. I felt like a real member of our family had passed on. BUt he will always be remembered in my heart!
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14 Jan 2010, 11:42
Jessica [Private]
Post Count: 1751
I could see how people could be very attached to their pets, I honestly can.

But to my personally, I've never had a pet growing up. I don't know what it's like to have a cat/dog that you just love and would do anything for.
I'd hope that's the same case with your friend as well =/ Not that it excuses his comment whatsoever.

I think that animals are replaceable physically. You can always get another dog/cat. But you can't replace love, never ever.
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15 Jan 2010, 04:03
Post Count: 322
Animals have personalities. You have to pay attention to them to see them, though. My one cat, is HILARIOUS. I mean, he's like a grumpy old man. He will scream and fight with you if you don't let him go outside. If he wants food, he will almost flip his bowl over to get my attention, or he will drag his bag out of the cabinet. It's hilarious. It's sad that some people see them as replaceable. I'd be lost without my doggie :[
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12 Jan 2010, 17:59
Post Count: 39
Definitely family. :)
I have two cats and two dogs, I consider all of them to be my brothers and sisters. I also have a horse who is my own (not a family pet), who is like my child lol.
I don't like the comment that your friend made either, every animal has a different personality just like people do. They're definitely not replaceable.

We had to put down my dog about 5 years ago, and that's been the greatest loss in my life so far. My animals definitely mean a lot to me.

I'm sure your golden retriever has a very happy life. He knows that he's loved, which is the best thing you could ever do for him. I'm sure he appreciates it. I'm sorry if you lose him soon. :(
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12 Jan 2010, 19:50
Post Count: 492
I know people like that. They think an animal is replaceable and will literally throw their animals away in the garbage. No burial or cremation. I find it actually kinda sick and evil, but some people were raised that animals are just property and not part of the family.

I look at my pets as part of my family. I don't know what I would have done without each and everyone of them. It's hard that they die faster than us, but at the same time they taught me how to care for others and how to be responsible. I find it a blessing to have had them in my life. I think of some of my deceased animals growing up and remember the good times. I don't see how people can say they are replaceable because they aren't! You can't replace a dog and get the same dog with the exact personality as the previous one. People are just cold hearted.

I wish I could yell at people like that and say, "well, you know your family, friends, and children are replaceable. You can make more." I know they would disagree but that statement isn't far from their animal statement. Last time I checked, animals still have feelings, feel pain, have personalities.
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12 Jan 2010, 19:54
Beautiful Lies
Post Count: 402
My cat is the equivalent to a child. He's my baby and I've seen him grow up since he was just a tiny baby of 7 weeks old (he's 3 now). I'm also not a fan of kids so it works out well :).

Anyway, my cat is not replaceable, none of my animals are. I had a hamster, that died about 3 months after I got it due to wet tail, and it was still sad. However my relationship and connection to my cat is much more than that of my relationship to my hamster or my fish. While it was sad when the hammie and first fish died, I was able to move on rather quickly. I think I might even get another hamster soon (it's been about a year), however my cat, oh my gosh, he's my life!
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14 Jan 2010, 21:36
Post Count: 2651
I agree. Small animals are not the same. Over the years I think I had about three hamsters (and a mouse and a goldfish) and they were great, but I wasn't attached to them like I was to the cat and dog I had growing up, and definitely not like I am with the cat I have now.

My cat now is entirely mine, he's not a family pet, and he's dependent on me. To him I am his mum. Whenever I'm at home he's right there with me. And of course there's an attachment there. I love him. I will be devestated when I lose him, particularly if I have to have him put down. At least that responsibility lay with my parents with my childhood cat and dog (I was away at university). I don't think they've ever gotten over it.
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12 Jan 2010, 22:04
Oprah Noodlemantra
Post Count: 300
All of our animals are family members, no less. My parents had a dog (half rott, half bloodhound) when I was born, and she ended up being my "big sister". I spent all my time with her, and I loved her. When she died when I was 14, a very good friend of mine said "she's just a dog, get over it". I didn't speak to that friend for a few months after that. Nuriko, I'm in a similar situation. My dog Marmaduke (Duke) is 13, half king lab, half rott, and he's in his last days. Can't stand up very well, shaky hips, has accidents, and whines when he moves the wrong way. He's like my little brother, and I get upset when I think about him being gone soon.
Animals are more than just things that eat, drink and shit, they're beings that have feelings, emotions, personalities. Just because they don't speak to us, or don't have opposable thumbs, doesn't mean they're not worthy of our love and affection.
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12 Jan 2010, 23:33
♥ Steph
Post Count: 52
I know plenty of people like that, but we had a dog pass away within the last 6 months that we'd had since I was like 4 and I was BAWLING and still cry when I think about her and I'm 22 years old. My dogs are my family. My brothers girlfriend always talks about giving away her cat shes had for years because he has constant bladder infections and she was tired of taking him to the vet, all I could think is, would you be thinking the same thing if your baby was sick and had to go to the dr all the time?
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12 Jan 2010, 23:58
Post Count: 26
I know a lot of people like that. They get an animal and the first sign of trouble-the animal is tossed aside. I've seen it happen quite a lot with my BIL. Puppies are cute. But, then they grow up and the responsibility of caring for them gets old-so they just toss them outside and get a new puppy. Its terribly sad.

We have a cat and a dog. I'm much more connected with Rocky (our yellow lab). He's my tv buddy and likes to sit as close as he possibly can to us at all times. Dalila(our cat) does her own thing and is pretty demanding. But, we love her none the less and wouldn't ever think of getting rid of them. And yes-they've caused their fair share of problems and made a few huge messes...but that doens't make me love them none the less. I guess I should just throw my kids out at the dumpster next time I get tired of them.
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13 Jan 2010, 01:21
The Mama
Post Count: 51
My mother in laws backyard has been re-named pet cemetary. We have several hamsters, guinea pigs, and rabbits (belonged to my sister in law) buried back there. My husbands rat just died the other day and he was pretty upset, but I think he's more upset that he cant bury it since the ground is so frozen. We've seemed to have a fond attachment to rodents lol.

Right now we currently have 3 cats (ok, they are mine lol). For us, its like having 3 more boys in the house. They are wacky and crazy but all very loving, and we consider them part of our family. Our kids love them but we've also taught them how to respect animals as well.

I hate that people think you can just get rid of an animal. I always feel so bad for the dogs and cats you see at shelters, who have been abandoned by their owners or just left outside in the cold to die :(
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13 Jan 2010, 03:36
Aspiring Boxer
Post Count: 169
Animals definitely are not replaceable. I love my animals to PIECES. I don't even want to think about that day Cricket (my dog who lives with my parents-she's the family dog) has to be put down. She's going to be 14 this March and is almost completely deaf, definitely has some loss of vision, and arthritis. On the other hand, I have Spike, my great dane mix, who is 6. He's still like a puppy and oh, so loyal. He's one of my best friends.

But if you're looking at this at a different point of view, such as raising animals for food (which is what I'm doing right now, since I'm against the meat industry), then yes these animals COULD be considered replaceable. You could always get another cow, chicken, goat, etc. Whatever it is that you want to eat.... But the characters of these animals still live on in your memories (at least they do to me) and the animals are respected and thanked for, for feeding us.
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13 Jan 2010, 03:40
Post Count: 571

I love animals, but honestly, I would never ever put too much stress on my life over a pet.
You have responsibilies over an animal yes and you can show love and affection for them, but they are PETS, tamed animals. I see them as a social and emotional commodity, that can be replaced.
If my pet died naturally, I would of course respect it, make it feel comfortable in its last days and bury it and be sad and miss it. Still knowing that I could get a new one next day if I wanted one. I would not risk my life for one, be merciful if it hurt someone, spend too much money on one and if my life style changed where I couldnt provide a proper home or proper time for one, I would not hesitate in finding it a new HOME for them (not a shelter, or put down).
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13 Jan 2010, 17:11
Post Count: 1938
Humans are just as much as animals as pets are, human intellect or not. I trust my cat more than I trust anyone alive.
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14 Jan 2010, 00:48
Post Count: 571
Agreed, we are all animals. I trust my pet to do the "toilet" outside the house. I trust my pet to eat off the table and not beg for food. I trust my pet to sit when I tell it to. I trust my pet not to bite me. Pets do have feelings and yes you can love them and they will definately love you back, but I dont see them as children, babies, brothers, I see them as Pets. They are not human, they are feline, canines, etc. You cant buy real people in pet stores or from breeders. As a social human being, I prefer to trust other human beings.
Dont get me wrong I love animals. I just think theres a line as to where they fit in my life :)
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14 Jan 2010, 01:45
Post Count: 1938
As a social human being, I can tell when someone is making fun of me despite any positive emoticons they throw in at the end of their sentences.

Sure, have an opinion, but keep the passive aggressive judgments to yourself. You know, because you're a social human being.
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14 Jan 2010, 01:49
Post Count: 571
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14 Jan 2010, 06:17
Post Count: 308
The only reason you can't buy people in stores is because we ("we" being most of humanity) realized slavery is an inhumane practice.
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13 Jan 2010, 06:11
Post Count: 308
My pets are my children. My babies. I dote on them as a mother would, spoil them rotten, and give them LOTS of cuddles (yes, even my bearded dragon). :D

My family's last dog Buddy I considered to be my brother. I spent ten years with him, most of which were my teen years. Best brother ever lol

Animals in general do have wonderful personalities, if you care to pay attention. Even something as wild as a reptile has the capability to show emotion. I become very attached to animals very quickly, even when they're not mine. I have never thought of one as "just an animal." Even that phrase is archaic - animals are far more valuable than humans give them credit for. Talk about a superiority complex.
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13 Jan 2010, 06:38
already gone.
Post Count: 153
My cat is my baby. i just got into a big fight with my family and my boyfriend over him. They see him as "just a cat", while I see him as part of my family and while I don't expect them to feel like I do about him it would be nice of them to respect my feelings. Pets can always be replaced once they're gone but they will always stay in our hearts. My childhood dog was ran over and I just can't bear to get another one though. Killer was the best dog ever :)
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