We all love our pets. They are important members of our families. They are our companions, best friends, and playmates. From puppy and kitten hood, we cosset them, indulge their every whim, and raise them to be perfect little members of our society and their respective species, to be loved by everyone they meet.
With names like ‘Pooky’ and ‘Baby’, they are coddled, coiffed, petted and preened. Our dogs go everyone with us and are even snuck into expensive restaurants in carriers camouflaged to look like an innocuous purse. On the other paw, our cats stay home to sleep in sheep skin beds fit for royalty and eat designer food made from duck, venison, ostrich, and salmon.
But is this really the best way to raise our four-legged friends or does it cross the line between loving our pets and ending up alone and ostracized by the rest of the human race?
From the infamous and highly eccentric ‘cat lady’ to the over the top ‘purse dog’ owner, there is a point when loving your pet crosses the line. Pet ownership has mutated over the last few decades to its acceptable and almost expected that people treat their pets like four-legged children but there are a few behaviors that are socially unacceptable – thank goodness!
Is your Dog really allowed in that Restaurant?
Purse dogs are the latest rage in high society. Little dogs that spend their day slung over a shoulder and taken here, there and everywhere are not a new concept. During Henry the VIII’s rein, at a time when all pets had jobs, English and French nobility demonstrated their wealth by owning small dogs that were only expected to sit on laps and provide comfort. This brought about the development of many small companion breeds such as Bichon Frise, French Bulldog and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
Unfortunately, celebrities like Paris Hilton and Britney Spears have caused a new interest in purse dogs. In an attempt to be as hip as Miss Hilton, far too many women now cart their little dogs with them everywhere they go, often to the detriment of the dog and the various establishments.
Do you feel the need to take your dog with you everywhere you go by stuffing it in a purse and slinging it over your shoulder? You may be on the verge of discovering what happens when loving your pet crosses the line.
How Many Cats is Too Many?
Aside from city by-law ordinances, there is no one to say how many cats are too many in one residence. Although there are incidences of dozens of cats living under the same roof without incident, there is a saturation point when you could be accused of being a ‘cat lady’.
The good rule of thumb in deciding how many cats may be enough is smell. Does your house smell? Does your yard smell? Do you smell? If no one will share your seat on a packed bus and prefer the odor of the local homeless man, you may want to look at how many cats you own and whether their company is keeping you from enjoying the company of your own species.
Should You and Your Dog Wear Matching Outfits?
If you have to ask, you have crossed the line and love your pet too much.
Should you match your lipstick color to what looks best on your dog’s head?
Like the previous question, this one does not deserve an answer. This also applies to French kissing your dog – totally unacceptable and you have crossed the line.
Does the majority of your wardrobe consist of sweatshirts featuring your dog’s breed?
When you look in the mirror and see your pet’s image starring back at you from your shirt, you have crossed the line and love your pet too much.
Have friends given up finding presents for you and just buy cat toys for you for Christmas and your birthday?
Again, a pretty good indicator that something is wrong although you could look at the bright side – you still have friends…
It is okay to love your pet, or pets for that matter. There is a downside besides the social awkwardness of the situation. By babying and coddling your dog, they do not mature and remain in a state of perpetual puppyhood. Immature behavior is not harmful to your pet by any means but can quickly develop into problem behavior. Begging, barking for attention, nipping, and jumping on people are all examples of puppy behavior that should be discouraged and yet is often seen in adult dogs that are coddled.
When loving your pet crosses the line from socially eccentric to problem behavior, it is your pet and your relationship with your pet that will suffer. Loving your pet is not a problem, but watch you do not love it too much.