Pet peeve: Dogs and other critters coddled beyond belief

Pet peeve: Dogs and other critters coddled beyond belief

When I was a kid, animals worked for a living.

Our dog Laddy lived outside and was a true watchdog. He patrolled the grounds at night and kept raccoons out of the chicken house. He slept on the back porch. We loved him, of course, and gave him treats, but he knew his place.

Cats and kittens lived in the barn – they were Mouse Patrol. With occasional moles and shrews thrown in. One cat even brought in a rabbit, just to prove what a good worker she was.

Cows gave milk, chickens laid eggs and provided the occasional Sunday dinner. Our bull only worked part-time, but he was dependable about it.

Our animals had their rights – the food was good and the hours weren’t that bad.

Today’s animals are welfare queens. Coddled beyond belief. Dogs live indoors. Cats not only live indoors, they sleep in their owners’ beds and refuse all but the fanciest of cat food.

The other day at a store, something fuzzy brushed my arm. It was a small dog, wrapped in a blanket and tucked in his owner’s arm.  This was not an outdoor market where we’ve come to expect dogs wearing sweaters and raincoats. It was indoors, and apparently room temperature was too harsh for it.

He wasn’t the only dog I’ve witnessed being carried. I see dogs plunked into baby carriages, being wheeled by their owners who appear honored to chauffer. I’m surprised the animals can still walk, although maybe they can’t.

My friend Linda lives on a lake and every night after sundown she feeds the neighborhood raccoons on her deck. Dog food and marshmallows. They line up for their nightly treats–mother and babies, waiting patiently until the door opens. Linda tosses the treats to each one in turn, and they know the routine. They queue up. They don’t fight. They are, by now, third-generation freeloaders.

Pets have become accessories and designer items. Facebook shows photos of cats sleeping decoratively on fireplace mantels and window sills. Tiny dogs wear rhinestone necklaces with ribbons in their hair. Bigger dogs wear Halloween costumes, or St. Patrick’s Day or Seahawks attire or reindeer horns.

I’m glad Laddy didn’t live to see any of this. He would have looked at a dog in a raincoat and snickered. And probably offered to help him escape. Our cats would have been appalled: You have to stay inside? You don’t get to hunt? You can’t go out in the moonlight?

It’s a sad day for animal rights. They need to unionize.


The writer is glad her childhood dog, “a true watchdog” who “knew his place,” isn’t alive to see sights like this.