Why I like Dogs and Cats
I have often contemplated why I was drawn to animals from an early age, and why that fascination continues today. My conclusion is that I like dogs and cats mainly because they are not people. Anyone who has read my previous blogs may take issue with that statement because I have stated that I really like people and this is a necessary trait in a veterinarian today. My point today is that I can like people but also enjoy the fact that animals are not people. I think it is like saying you like apple pie but also apple trees. There are things common to both those objects but your reasons for enjoying each one are different.
The very fact that dogs and cats do not act like we do makes them interesting and often less predictable than we think. If they acted like us, I might have to worry about what kind of day my dogs had when I walk in the door at the end of the day. Likewise, I might have to intellectualize my way through a disagreement about where we should go for summer holidays. Fortunately this is not a concern with my pets. They seem consistently happy to see me at the end of the day and they do not have an opinion on where we should go for summer holidays. The flip side to this lack of humanity is that I can not always predict exactly how an animal is going to respond to a situation. I can only look at things through my human perspective and this does not always work well as a predicator for animal behaviour.
I encounter this as a veterinarian every day I work. Every veterinarian has had a dog or cat on an examination table is told by owners that their pet will never jump off, only to see a frightened patient flying through the air thirty seconds later. similarly, there is the patient who obviously very scared, bites their owners 15 seconds after these individuals assured the veterinarian their pet would never do this. My point is simply that we can not accurately predict an animals behaviour 100 % of the time because they do not act like us. I tell all my owners this when they have their animals around little children. Please be careful and do not assume anything. Pets are a wonderful addition to a household and invaluable to a child’s development, but the last thing anyone wants is to have their kids hurt by a pet.
So at the end of the day, I say celebrate the fact that your pet does not act like you and me. It is the reason we love them as much as we do.