Note: written on Oct 15, 1996
Humans keep pets for multiple reasons, but primarily as substitutes for human contact. Pets are more predictable, more easily controlled, and beyond any natural bond of affection that develops between pet owner and pet, they can be trained to react in what can be interpreted to be a warm and friendly response. They invariably prove to be good listeners. Humans have kept pets for as long as they have been able to sustain an imaginative thought, as pet owners are certainly imaginative in what they ascribe to their pets. It has been said that pet owners take on the appearance of their pets as time passes. In fact, the opposite is the case – the pet owner chooses the pet as its persona matches the would be pet owner. Humans identify with their pets, so as to have a companion that they presume will relate to them. Ah, there’s another me, they say, someone who will understand. Along those lines:
- Dog owners desire more assertive activity in their life, want to be able to assert themselves in human society more than they do, and vicariously enjoy it when their pets snatch food off the table, pee where and upon whatever they wish, and openly defy orders from strangers with a dumb look on their face. Owners of aggressive attack dogs are making the statement – don’t mess with me. Owners of pampered poodles or tiny Chihuahuas are making the statement – I wish to be taken care of and can’t be expected to go out into the rough and tumble world.
- Cat owners are essentially aloof and tightly control their lives. They may be outgoing in appearance, but close examination reveals that they do so as a well orchestrated act. In fact, they distrust life and what it presents, and don’t want other humans to presume that they can simply march into the cat owner’s life. Owners of single cats are less secure in human society than owners of cat herds, as although they maintain tight control over their private world, they want some other warm blooded creature to be forced to share this with them, the cat owner being the only social interaction available to the cat. Owners of cat herds have ambitions to manage other humans, but are practicing with their cats.
- Keeping a horse for recreation indicates a desire to be in charge, and in a big way. Women frequently outnumber men in this outlet, and for good reason. In most of human society, women are not allowed to manage, to startup and run companies, or to direct, regardless of their qualifications. At least on horseback they can soar over obstacles and fly across great distances, all the while acting as a director of these accomplishments. They are in charge, of something big and powerful, and the world is their audience.
- Owners of passive pets or those pets that don’t interact with humans, such as fish or lizards or snakes or insects, are escaping into a world where there is relative peace and quiet, vicariously, through their pets. At the end of a hectic day, fighting with traffic and unreasonable customers and a demanding boss, they can come home and put themselves, at least mentally, into the placid world of the fish tank, or bask in the sunlamp with the pet lizard, or sleep endlessly in one place without a care in the world with their pet snake. They are making the statement that they wish that were their world.
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