There is one particular change to my personality that I have been observing which is acutely different from the me of the past. I have been hesitant to post it because I did not wish to offend anyone and then realized that consideration in itself is indicative of the old and must also be relinquished.
Observation: Human Attachment to Pets
My earliest memories are of my affinity for animals. My sisters and I were always gathering up stray dogs and bringing them home or tending to injured wild animals that we found. We once brought home an abandoned Irish Setter with mange. We kept her and she became a beloved pet we named Jennifer. We also tried to save an injured bat but my father said it was rabid and made up seal it in a jar to die of suffocation. Another time we saved an abandoned fawn and took it to someone who nursed it to adulthood.
There are so many stories, many of which left me with deep scars for the loss that resulted. Still other memories fill me with great joy.
My attachment to my Australian Shepard, Trooper, resulted in an intense period of grieving for me (9 months or more) when I lost him in 2012. I have never suffered as much pain from the loss of a pet – or a person. It was like a part of me died and never returned.
That brings me to present time. My neighbors recently got a new puppy. They are outside with it constantly and talking in high pitched, baby-talk. When I first observed this I reacted in quite a different way than is my norm. I thought it was totally ridiculous and absurd to react to an animal in such a way. I have seen the puppy, and though it is cute, I feel that it should not be a pet at all and that the humans who are keeping it as a pet should respect animals by never keeping them caged or separate from their natural environment.
With this I became critical even and then realized that was the old me reacting to the loss of my previous desire to have a pet. In so recognizing this, there came a realization that having a pet at all stems from the human desire to keep close to them something of nature. Pets serve this purpose especially now, when humanity has separated themselves so much from nature that few humans in “civilization” ever immerse themselves in a natural environment. We fool ourselves into believing that the parks and recreational areas we have created are “nature” and return home to our pets, oblivious to the fact that we ourselves are the ones who have been caged.
In the early days of conversing with my Companion, he often remarked about my attachment to my dog, Trooper. He would laugh or ask me questions about how I treated him. He would comment, “He is an animal” as if I needed that pointed out to me. Perhaps I did, for I treated him much like my own child and often called him, “Baby” or “little boy”. To me, he was my ever-loyal companion and friend. He was beyond “human”, he was better than any human I have ever known.
I now see why my Companion found my attachment so funny. It is also clear to me why he warned me of Trooper’s coming death a whole year in advance. He knew I would suffer greatly from the loss of my friend.
My personal feeling now is that no animal should be kept as a pet. I will never own a pet again and I will not allow my children to own one, either. It is does us no good and it definitely does not help the pet. Animals belong in their natural environment. We have done the canine a disservice by making him dependent upon us. When, in the future, we are unable to care for all the millions of domesticated pets we have created, we will be forced to confront the problem we have created.