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Pets are not people!

An Associated poll released Tuesday found that half of all American pet owners consider their pets as much a part of the family as any other person in the household. Um…what? As far as I can see, that is messed up. Really. Think about it. I know you love your pet. You would do anything for your pet. But value it as much as any other person in your household? That’s just not right.Cute_Pictures_21213

Hey, I had pets. I was one of those artsy single chicks with cats and I loved my animals. I remember scrounging up money for an EKG for Henry who we later learned had a bad heart condition. He also needed Prozac towards the end of his life (well how would you feel being a young virile male and knowing your life would soon come to a premature end?) And then there was the chemo we forked over for Katie. Martini, my dog, needed intensive psychological attention, home-made organic food, and a personal trainer to keep him sane and fit. I’m no stranger to loving your animals and treating them like members of the fam.

But when push comes to shove, please tell me all those people polled don’t actually consider their pets to be as important as their spouse or children. I mean the poll does say that more singles see their pets as family members than married folk. I guess that’s slightly comforting. The thing is, they’re still animals. I don’t get how people can overlook that rather obvious fact

The poll also said that most pet owners feed their animals human food, nearly half give their animals human names and almost a third let them sleep in a human bed. Can you say reality check? Listen, in many ways I’d love to have a pet. But I can barely manage a husband and two little boys. Sure, there’s a certain appeal to having an animal. They’re almost always kind, on your side, sympathetic. They don’t demand nearly as much attention as your children, and they don’t talk back. Big plus. But I implore you to remember that a pet is a pet and your family members (at least most of them) are humans. So in the event of a fire (or an earthquake if you’re still living in CA), let’s all consent to saving our offspring before venturing back into the flames for Fluffy. Agreed?

About gettrich

Debra Rich Gettleman is a professional actor, playwright and journalist living in Oklahoma City with her husband Mark and two amazing boys, Levi and Eli.

37 responses to “Pets are not people!

  1. laggylife ⋅

    I consider my pets to be as important as my spouse. I don’t have children (because quite frankly I don’t want them!) A living being is a living being and deserves the same respect and everything that goes with it as any other being. I have left boyfriends, stopped inviting friends over and moved from apartments because people have had issues with my dog or cats. I have this saying on a plac on my wall right at my front door; I love my pets this is their home It is my hope they’ll never roam my faithful friends they are the best this is their home you are the guest so if to you they are a peeve then by all means feel free to leave! I stick by it too if you don’t like my dog then don’t come over! End of!


  2. laggylife ⋅

    PS. All of my pets have human names, they all eat human food and they all sleep with my and my husband. And I can guarantee you I would save my dog before I would save your kids!


    • CW ⋅

      That is horriblle. But on the flip side, I would intentionally kill your animal to save my kid…and even the neighbor’s kid. The notion that you would let a human child die before your dog is absolutely insane.


      • laggylife ⋅

        See what I mean. Your child means something to you, my dog means something me. I would not expect any less. You would probably say that you would kill a human to save your child too. In your mind that would not be wrong, becaue you are saving your own… In the eyes of the law it would be wrong. But…. You would do it… Don’t tell me you wouldn’t!


      • laggylife ⋅

        PS it is not insane either, look up that meaning before throwing it around and causing stigma.

        I am saying that I would save my dog before your child, because out on instinct I would save what is MINE, what means something to me, what I LOVE……….

        Same as you would save your OWN child before someone elses….

        Honetly it’s human nature. You cannot deny it!


    • This is abhorrent…you would really save your pet before my child? Well rest assured, I would kill your pet if it meant saving my child. Ridiculous…I’m glad you don’t have kids!


    • clee ⋅

      please! Go have a mental check out, or just commit yourself


      • laggylife ⋅

        Grow up! People have different opinions and that fine! I like mine you like yours.


      • clee ⋅

        People do have opinions, pet do not.


      • laggylife ⋅

        That doesn’t even make sense. And by the way how do you know they don’t have opinions…? Maybe they like cookies better than watermellon… That would be an opinion that they cannot verbalize however they can communicate it with you…


    • Actually killing another person to save another could very well be a justifiable homicide under the necessity doctrine. Further, your lack of action in saving your property over a human being, especially a child could very well be a crime or a tortious action in the eyes of the law.

      And just because something is your opinion does not make it right; I am sure a lot of pedophiles, in their opinion, think molesting children is a-o-k.

      And the definition of insanity is a broad one. Broad enough to encompass your thinking, but yet narrow enough to be a proper descriptor of its ridiculousness.


      • laggylife ⋅

        I don’t think once during the entire attack of my opinion have a said that my opinion is right. I have said that it is right for me. I have tried to make people see my point. However so many of you are brainwashed in the views that humans have a hierarchical relationship with animlas that you have not stopped to see how the rest of the world is evolving. I still maintain each should take care of his own. Therefor you save what you love, I will save what I love. I have no emotional bond to your children, therefore my first instinct would be to the beings I love, nuture and care for everyday… Including my animals. It would be no different than subsituting a child for my dog… Do you really think I would save your kid before my own… Nope! Not going to happen and neither would it vice versa!


  3. Grahams ⋅

    This is the first, and now last time I read your blog. I think it is sad you even needed to write this. I find it funny because often times animals can sense an earthquake or alert an owner of fire which can actually help save your family. I guess I don’t understand why you took the time to write the article since you state in your bio, Pets: None. I’d probably have a nervous breakdown if I had one more creature to care for. I worry that you have 2 children.


  4. flash

    Hmm. Is it true? 🙂


  5. I find it ironic that both of your “pets” suffered from psychological ailments. ..

    If all you can manage is a husband, two boys and a blog, it’s not surprising that the addition of “a loving pet” is too much for you… Your article is offensive to those who have learned to balance their love across an entire family (which includes pets).

    One thing I’ve learned over the years is that those “humans” who are well-adjusted and balanced in their lives don’t have to “rate” the importance of life – any type of life. You don’t rate how much you love your husband versus how much you love your sons, or how much you love either one of your sons. The more you love, the more love is given back to you. Just out of curiosity, which member of your family ranks high enough to pull from a burning car? Would you sacrifice your life for only one family member? And if so, which one? Maybe you should let them know so they can be prepared in case of emergency. I find your “ranking system” laughable.

    I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis – yours is not one of them. I was given this URL by a friend who was deeply offended by your comment. Interestingly enough, this person is owned by a dog, as well as four children, a husband, two thriving businesses and a large extended family. She handles it all with a grace, calmness and dignity that I’m sure you would aspire towards.

    Myself, I’ve been married for 7 years to an amazing man. Together we are owned by cats, dogs, kids, businesses, and a home filled with love. We love them all equally. Why? We can handle it – we have enough to go around.

    I feel sorry for people like you – those who feel that love must be “ranked and divided”. Luckily, you’re rapidly becoming the minority as society realizes the benefits of having pets (and family) in their lives. I would be happy to send you a list of studies that back this statement up if you like.

    I find it interesting that pet-spending is nearly the only part of the economy has grown, while spending on children has plummeted. Huh. Might make for an interesting followup…

    I would normally send people over here to really let you know how wrong you are in your “reality check,” but I don’t want to justify this posting with additional traffic. Personally, I would suggest keeping your opinion to yourself when it comes to this topic. It just makes you look rather pathetic in a world that is rapidly growing in social consciousness and environmental responsibility…

    Learn to love more than one thing at a time. It would do you good.


  6. Lens Flare ⋅

    People, back off. Do you not see the humor in this article? Ms Gettleman is not deriding pet owners. She clearly knows her limitations and is presenting her take on pet ownership with a tongue-in-cheek levity that I as a pet LOVER find funny. I mean look how many people get a cute puppy for their kids and abandon it when it’s not cute and little anymore. She in no way gives me the impression that she would do something like that. I think she sounds quite responsible actually. People who don’t feel that they could be an attentive pet owner should do exactly the same as Ms Gettlemen and not take a responsibility they might not be able to handle. I love my pets as much as all of you angry people do but I would never judge so harshly anyone who doesn’t believe exactly as I do. Ms Gettleman sounds like a very logical and responsible person with a good sense of humor. Lighten up, people, your pets can sense your anger and it has an ill effect on them.


  7. Lens Flare ⋅

    Lighten up, people!


  8. Urzu ⋅

    Don’t worry; you aren’t the only sane person left.

    Look at all these comments arguing with you. LMAO. It’s hilarious, really. You’ll find that most of these people argue with you, try to talk about how smart their pet is, or talk about how pets are so much like people. They might seem like they are trying to convince you but in reality they are trying to convince themselves and are subconsciously repressing the fact that they must look to a simple creature fot their happiness, regardless if they have family or not.

    I have (and had) many pets and I “love” my pets. However, I am not so disillusioned to belive that they are people.

    Don’t fear, there aren’t that many over-zealous pet owners out there.


  9. laggylife ⋅

    PetsWeekly — I wish I could have been as eloquient as you, this just made me mad! I really can’t deal with people who go on and on about how much of their time their kids and husband and home take up. I have a job that keeps me out of my home 47 hours a week as does my husband. We live with my elderly grandparents and have the responsibility of taking care of their needs. We make time for each other and for friends. We have four cats and a 90lb yellow lab. We love everyone the same and we work at making time for it all! Life isn’t all about being tickled with a feather. It is what you work at to make it! Lens Flare — This article was not tounge in cheek it was a complete put down to people who feel differently than she does. So why should we not counter with the same attitude? Sanity is relitive and I don’t think anyone who lives without the love and fun of a pet is at all very sane! So please just because I treat my dog better than you treat your kids don’t call me insane. It is offensive!


  10. ZigZag ⋅

    For the record, I think that you all, especially laggylife and PetsWeekly, are way too defensive on this issue. I personally agree with the author of this article — while pets can be important in someone’s life, they are NOT people! God placed man over animals for a reason. We are supposed to value all people above animals no matter what.

    Laggylife, I am shocked that you would save a dog, rather than the lives of two innocent children. If the choice is between getting scraped up and saving a dog, or letting the dog burn, yes of course I would save the dog! But honestly, I pity your moral standing if you think that pets are more important than children, who were made in God’s own image.

    The dog that I had for all seventeen years of my life just passed away. Yes, I was sad, and yes, I cried, but no, I never spent 43 million dollars a year on dog clothing, like all America put together does, and no, I did not throw a bunch of money toward counseling. Plus, my dog had an animal name, ate animal food, and lived outside (which is healthier, P.S.). My dog had a special place in my family, as do all dogs, put that rightful place is underneath all living humans, as God intended it to be.

    We are all accountable for our actions, including where we spent our time and money, and if you all are willing to let children starve in China so that your precious animal can have organic food, clothing, a “personal” trainer to keep IT fit, then I will sincerely pray for you and for your moral convictions.


  11. Jerry ⋅

    Zig Zag, you are so right about laggylife. She is a sick individual, and I pray she gets some intense counseling. To put her pets ahead of any human is morbid!


  12. Laggy ⋅

    Sorry Zig Zag and Jerry but I don’t believe in your God, I don’t believe in higher powers and I don’t believe that humans have any kind of domain over animals. I don’t need your prayers I do just fine! Don’t pitty me I don’t need it! I also feel very sorry for you that you have not found the moral maturity to stop following faith blindly and using your own brain and will to lead your life! You have to be told what is right, to follow it, you cannot choose what is right for you! God! Ha ha! It scares me for your sanity! I don’t require any counseling I know who I am without needing to be led by a fake overlord in the sky and his son and a book of fairy tails! I choose my way! I am not frightened into it. It is not my duty to look after starving children in China when there are starving children/people/dogs/cats right here in Canada and the USA! I do my bit by donating! As a matter of fact I am not obligated to give my hard earned anything to anyone other than who/what I want to! I will continue to stay by what I said. I will look after and save in the time of need what is important to me! My husband, my dog and my cats. Other peoples children frankly as much as it makes you cringe are not important in my life! Thank-you! As you said “To put HER pets infront of any human is morbid.” They are MINE. Other peoples children are not! Of course I would put them ahead of humans they are part of my life! A stranger in the street is not! I find your lack of morality with respect to life a little morbid! Life is life whether it is a scaly, furry or skinned covered body!


  13. Mateo

    Wow, Laggy is a complete moron. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out she’s from Seattle, the mecca of insane dog nuts who let their pets sleep in the same bed, completely over-run the house with filth, etc etc.


  14. Jerry ⋅

    OK, have it your way. I will say prayers for you as you need them desperately, and besides I decide whom and when I pray for to begin with. But bringing it down to your level, and that is falling quite a way, but just on a secular basis, this is still sick. I oft times disagree with entertainers, but thank God (oops, there I go again) when they do raise money for relief it is generally for people needs, such as in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake. Alot of them are not believers, but they still have the HUMAN decency to distinguish for real HUMANITARIAN needs. You are just like old man Potter in ‘Its a Wonderful Life.’ Remember when Peter Bailey call out the old SOB on how the folks he wanted evicted had families and they had children, and old man Potter very callously stated, “they are not my children.” That is exactly you!!!


  15. Jerry ⋅

    So everytime you look in a mirror, picture old man Potter, as it is so appropriate.


  16. Laggy ⋅

    Sweetie! Get a life! Yes that is exactly me! (Although no I don’t know the movie I have never seen it!) I don’t care if you like it or not. Other people are not my responsibility. I pay my way as should others! I don’t have an obligation to spend my time working my butt off to make the money that I EARN to pay for others who sit on welfare and don’t take care of themselves. I work in a VERY compassionate industry, Mental Health and Addiction. I see it all, I help people everyday…. BUT…. Business is business, if you can’t pay your rent of course you are going to be evicted regardless of whether you have kids or not! Get into the real world. This is not Little House on the Prarie we are living in! Pray all you want, but it is only to make you feel better, because in your moral world I ain’t going upstairs anyway! Besides, I wouldn’t want to go anywhere, where dogs are not allowed, considering your LOVING God doesn’t feel that animlas have souls I don’t need your God. Just because it is said in a book that was written by men thousands of years ago who wanted to scare the population into following their thoughts that man has domain over animals…. Most of us have evolved to know that isn’t necessarily true. Maybe you should try to get out of the dark ages!


  17. Laggy ⋅

    Thanks, Mateo but I am not American at all! So no I am not from Seattle, I do however let my dog sleep with me and no we don’t live in filth! If you think I am a moron then so be it, quite frankly I think most of the people that have commented here are morons!! I live my life my way you live yours your way! I don’t think anyone is wrong in how they live unless they are judged. My life works for me, my thoughts, belief system and morals work for ME. They don’t have to work for everyone else. I don’t expect other people ways to work for me! I frankly don’t care what other people think, of me or of how I live my life! I will keep on keeping on as I have. However I would be intrested to know which part of my statement makes you think I am a moron.


  18. Jerry ⋅

    You attack me again for my spiritual beliefs, even though my last message I focused and closed on a totally secular basis, again bringing down to your level. Interesting you made no comments at all about the various efforts to bring humanitarian assistance to those in dire need due to some tragic circumstances (e.g. Haiti). Nowhere did I say anything about welfare loafers or people of that ilk, yet that is how you twisted it, in your twisted mind. I find it extremely disturbing that such as self absorbed, narcisstic individual such as yourself, with no human compassion whatsoever, works in a field, where having those very traits to help out real people and their very difficult circumstances, should be a prerequisite. Is it any wonder our screwed up world is, well that! I would think a more appropriate field for you would be working at some luxury pet spa and resort, tending to what you really care about, and leaving the compassionate work of caring for your fellow man (woman) in the hands of those who really care. Laggy is so spot in calling you out for the moron you really are! That was obvious from the getgo. But to admit that you have never watched It’s A Wonderful Life? Wow! That is the proof in the pudding of Laggy’s comment. You need to get a life, so you can understand life.


  19. ZigZag ⋅

    Um, Jerry, I think you meant Mateo in that last comment. Anyway, Laggy, I wholeheartedly believe that you are entitled to your own beliefs, and I to mine. I will not attack you for disbelieving in the Lord Our God, the Savior of the World, the Prince of Peace, Almightly Counselor, Wonderful God, and I do not appreciate you attacking my beliefs.

    However, I have several points to address. First of all, who ever said we were “following faith blindly”? I am 18 years old and I have never felt more confident that the ability to “use [my] own brain” and the “will to lead [my] life” come directly from God. To call me a moron and assume that I am a stupid mindless robot would be the most fallacious statement of all.

    And yes, you are correct on one point — I “cannot choose what is right for [me].” That is not my place. In fact, no one solely chooses what is right or wrong for them. We all have some innate sense of right and wrong, do we not? How can our government lay down the law, determine what is right and what is fair, if we (being all mankind) didn’t have some ingrained sense of what that right and wrong are? You wouldn’t kill your dog, would you? It’s just wrong. You wouldn’t kill another human being for no reason, would you? Besides the fact that it is punishable by the government? And why is it punishable by the government? Why do we have human rights? Because it’s just right! But how do we know it’s right? Because of God. Because of that moral sense (which some have lost, sad to say) that is ingrained in our beings at conception. No one decides solely of themselves what is right and what is wrong.

    Now, that being said, I’m not going to say that you are in the wrong because you love your pets. All good things come from God, and you are dutifully taking care of God’s creation. I commend you for it! I have seen too many stray animals, and I think that you are performing a necessary duty on this earth — you should be praised! Furthermore, I believe that you donating to causes in the USA / Canada are also praiseworthy! I don’t care if you don’t care about children in China — while I care about them, I personally don’t go to China and help them. Granted, I just graduated high school, but regardless. Like you, I give my time and my money to causes in America — which is still to be praised! No one is tearing you down for that.

    However, might I inquire… I give money to the church, because I feel that it is right. Jesus says to do so. But, why do you give money to causes, if you don’t believe in a right or wrong? I do what is right because I know that I am accountable for where I spend my time and my money, and I will have to answer to God someday. But if you don’t believe in a God, in a higher power, then why try? Why do what is right, if, in the long run, it doesn’t matter? For, if there is no God, then doing what is right or wrong, really doesn’t matter, does it? Taking care of your pets doesn’t matter, does it? And no, I don’t believe pets got to heaven, it seems like you don’t either, so where do you believe they go? If you don’t believe in God, how do you think your pets, much less yourself, will be saved? Just curious.

    Furthermore, I actually agree with your statement that “[you] don’t think anyone is wrong in how they live unless they are judged.” Unfortunately, I hate to break it to you, but they are judged. Everyone is judged. By God. Which is why we have to take care of animals here on earth, donate to causes such as disasters in Haiti, or donate to your local charity, as the case may be.

    However, I think the crux of the issue is, are pets above humans? (I am just trying to clarify and bring us back to the point, from which we have evidently strayed.) Let me ask you, has a dog ever built a great cathedral? Has a dog ever organized a meeting in the Senate? Has a dog built a road, or a car, or developed medicine, or a computer? Or has dog-technology ever helped diagnose cancer and save a human life? Yes, it is sometimes a dog’s instinct to save a human — look at that! Even dogs believe in the value of human life! Now, has human technology helped diagnose problems in dogs and save their lives? Sure! I went to petco today, and they have a huge sign that says “we have saved 4.something million cats, and counting!” It sounds like human knowledge and instincts have done a lot more than dog knowledge. Maybe it follows logically that humans were created smarter. Or, if you prefer, humans are smarter. So, should humans be lower than animals? It sounds to me, regardless of the religious perspective, that humans are in dominion over animals. Now, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t care for them, but it does mean that humans have the dominant hierarchy. Does the law put to death humans who have killed animals? If you accidentally kill your fish, are you going to prison? No. But if you accidentally kill your neighbor, are you going to prison? Yes! So I believe that the law is on my side when I say that humans are above pets. Plus, if killing a human is worse than killing a pet, then saving a human is better than saving a pet. I don’t care if you don’t know the human, it seems selfish if you let someone die just because you don’t know them and it doesn’t affect your life.

    Anyway, just throwing that out there. I didn’t think this discussion was hot enough yet.


  20. ZigZag ⋅

    P.S. You’re not vegetarian, are you? ‘Cause that kind of discredits your whole point, otherwise… No grocery stores sell human meat, it’s sick an unnatural. But do you know how many pets are sold in stores? That alone should tell you that humans are valued above pets.


  21. Laggylife ⋅

    Ok I’m a moron. I am evil because Jesus says so. I don’t know right from wrong because I dint follow the word if God. Do you see the pattern? You don’t follow blindly? Really? Everything you have said is because of Jesus and God. You give money to the church because Jesus said that was right…. Why do I give money. Because I know it is right. You say that it has to be cause God told me right from wrong. In my world God is a fairy tail. So no God has nothing to do with my life. If killing a human is worse than killing an animal than saving a human is better than saving an animal. What kind of hillbilly logic is that? Laws were made in a time when humans were not as evolved as they are now. Never mind that human beings are 100% egocentric and most will never evolve enough to know the value of animals. Just look at the situation of disposable pets in shelters. It is humans like you that hold animal right and welfare back.


  22. Laggylife ⋅

    Yes sweetie they are sold in stores and valued Less than humans by idiots that continue to believe in unnatural things like fathers in the sky looking down on them and giving them what they pray for cause they are good little girls and boys who pay the church and do what his fabled son tells them to.


  23. Nicole ⋅

    I’ll take my sweet, loving, affectionate cat over someone’s bratty, spoiled, unappreciative punk kids (that couldn’t say “thank you” without being prompted every single time by their parents if their lives depended on it) any day of the week! Cats not kids!


  24. Nancy James ⋅

    I agree that pets or any animal for that matter are not people. Nor should they be treated like people, regardless of what services they provide for us. However, if someone feels compelled to allow their dog to sleep in their bed or dress them up, or feed them “people food” that’s their business. It is really sad when someone prefers an animal over another person! Especially when laggylife stated she would save her pet’s life over a child’s. That is pretty evil, no matter how you look at it.

    What I’m about to write will probably piss some people off. Animals are creatures without souls placed on this earth for man to use and eat, but not to replace anything another person can provide (“human-like” companionship and friendship- things like that). I have two dogs who eat good quality kibble and raw foods, are well trained, live mostly indoors, have toys, and proper veterinary care. I play with them, take them to parks, and “special outings” to the pet store. But I would never place them above another person. If I had a choice as to save my dog or a stranger’s “bratty child”, I’d save the child without even hesitating.

    Also from a religious perspective, I have a question. Do you think that treating animals like they are people would be pleasing to God? Especially considering that WE were made in His image?! However, if any of you reading this are atheist, you probably will not be able to relate and therefore I can understand your backwards thinking.


  25. Laggylife ⋅

    100% atheist. Not sure how you didn’t get that from my comments. Every life has a soul nothing is here for man to use. I do understand your outdated, backward, souless thinking. Considering you still follow a fairytail with a mythical overlord and can’t make your own decisions.


  26. Tamara ⋅

    I know this post is really old, but I couldn’t believe the responses this author received! I grew up with pets (dogs) and have had my own dogs, but I know a dog is an animal. Albeit, an animal which you can have heightened emotions. I’m an atheist, too, but, its pretty obvious evolution has led to the dominion of (hu)man in the animal kingdom (for now), and the Human-Lesser Animal “pet” relationship is a perversion.


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