Living with a pet is the most amazing thing, right?
Watching them grow up in front of your eyes and becoming more confident with each passing day. Watching them make a complete mess of your house but only being able to see their cuteness. Caring for them by cleaning and feeding. Playing with them. Using every given opportunity to buy them new treats and toys.
Oh, what great fun it is to have a pet! Or is it that your pet has you…?
Are you ready for the 4 universal truths of being a pet owner? In the usual illustrated moment tradition there will be dorky cartoons to emphasise my points, and today the role of the pets will be starring the Bumble chicks!
Let’s begin with the first truth!
1. You are their personal slave
Once upon a time you had autonomy – you decided how you spent your time. You were wild and free! But then you brought home your pet and now you are doting on their every demand. You feed them when they want to be fed – how dare you try to adjust their diet into something healthier! It is playtime when they are in the mood for it – what do you mean you have other areas of your life you need to pay attention to? You may sleep soundly when they permit it – why do you keep moaning about this ‘not getting enough sleep‘ thing? Admit it, you are their personal slave and you don’t even mind it. You witness that little jump for joy and the energetic, happy run at 3 in the morning and every bit of it is justified for you! Ah, the ball and chain of Love.
2. Your day revolves around them
Your beloved pet determines every aspect of your life. All the activities in your day are scheduled after their needs have been met. It’s all part of being a loving pet owner. Sure, it can be annoying when you don’t have a pet who is good with travelling or boarding services, so you must resort to never taking a holiday. Yes, sometimes you want to stay out a bit later than usual, enjoying the moment, but actually you must get home because they would have missed you and you can’t stop thinking about them. Of course, you would absolutely love a lie in and wake up lazily around midday to forage for food in the fridge, but let’s face it, they determine when you wake up as well as when you can sleep. Our pets can be demanding and bossy but isn’t it amazing to know that they crave our attention because they love and trust us completely? Our day may revolve around them but we must remember that they depend on us with their lives.
3. You are convinced they understand you
You moan about your day to them, you sing to them, you read them bedtime stories, you don’t swear around them, you use baby babble to coo at them. Whatever means of weird and wonderful communication you have adopted with your beloved pet, just know that non-pet owners think you’re losing it in the mental department. Some pets are intelligent and well trained to understand certain words and gestures, but I don’t have that kind of pet. I am the proud owner of a rabbit by the name of Bilbo and he is deaf. Yet I still speak to him and read him bedtime stories (not making this up), because in my heart I think he understands the attention I give him. When we communicate with our pets we tend to face them, make eye contact and physical gestures, and for that moment we are not glued to a computer screen or a phone – that has to mean something to them. However, I must admit that sometimes I see understanding in their eyes and then the conscious decision being made to be mischievous, just because they know we can’t do anything about it. Little cute monsters.
4. Your choice of discipline? Why, cuddles of course
Oh goodness me! They have been so naughty! They’ve just chewed through your favourite shoes, gotten into your important documents, declared war on the furniture and momentarily lost all sense of toilet training. You might think you’re mad, but if a human did the same, you would have attacked them by now. So you’re not that mad. In fact when you look into their guilty eyes you are sent into a trance. But you must show them you’re not happy with what they have done – you wouldn’t want to encourage this type of behaviour. You hold them close and cuddle them as you softly explain in big words that they should never do that again, but that you love them. Yes, you’re a pro at this. The truth is your love for them trumps anything else, which makes you the best pet owner ever, and that’s why they can reciprocate all those squishy feelings. For our beloved pets, positivity and rewards when they are well behaved works better than any form of negative discipline method you could adopt.
Here’s to pets and being owned by them!