Pet vs Person

There is this concerning issue that keeps being brought to my attention. Clearly it needs to be shared. For many months now, the topic of adopted pets and adopted children, and how they are often seen as the same, has followed me like a mosquito in June. The big fellas, you know, the loud high pitched sound passing your ear right before they find your neck?

The topic frustrates me and honestly, the “dog rescuers” point is so far out there that I’ve simply written about it personally and have chosen to move on, to ignore. After a few weeks and more folks who “adopted” their dogs the issue buzzed in my head even more.  “Eh, to each their own,” I shrugged at the end of that day.

A month passed and while volunteering for a local rescue the leadership at the nonprofit actually proclaimed that adopting an animal and a child was the same; “Adopting a pet is exactly the same as adopting a child, they are family members getting a forever home.”  Or “furever” home as they often called it.

For example, this was written:

“You can’t expect to just walk in and adopt a "perfect" dog, just imagine if you are adopting a CHILD from a family, an adoption agency, or from another country, there is going to be medical needs, small or large its comes along with saving a life.”

Her point originated from folks having issues with the rescue, feeling as if the rescue sold a sick dog, etc. However, she does continue on with the topic of relinquishment, both pet and child. Her point was to create this image for adopters so they would do and spend whatever necessary to keep, care for, teach/train their beloved new family member, Fido.

I’ve since decided that my volunteer time and money could be used for better things than this particular nonprofit. (There were many issues, concerns, not just this one.)

Welcome 2014 and new disappointing comments on the topic from people connected to children and adults who were adopted.  A friend of a friend compared her dog to her adopted child and the love and ease of being together was stronger with her dog.  Yes, seriously. And then the proverbial straw came recently when this was written, “Giving a dog a ‘forever home’ is the same as giving one to a child.” 

I’m beginning to wonder if there isn’t a bigger problem than these key words or phrases that poke at my soul. Have we as a society begun to devalue our children?  I mean even more than we already have…  In AZ the number of children in foster care has risen, deaths at the hand of a parent/caretaker are up, and we all know about the problems in AZ with child welfare.  I can’t bring myself to even type out CPS, because there are simply too many not being protected. The name of the agency has become (far too often) a sick joke. Has the pendulum swung back to where we focus primarily on animal welfare? Long ago there was no “child welfare agency,” we only had the Humane Society.  Decades ago the majority didn’t need to be told to care for their children, or to love and protect them. We evolved into a world where it became necessary to police the treatment of children. As a whole, we needed far more than the Humane Society for animals.

While I believe in caring for animals (and their protection) they are not more important than our children.  Fido, Princess, and Fluffy are not going to grow up to be our doctors, nurses, teachers, or President.  They aren’t sent to school or raised to be the best fur-person they can be.  They are happy to see us, they provide great companionship, but they don’t learn from Dr. Oz that they are at risk for dying young from obesity because their human gives too many treats.

While the term “Adopt” has been utilized to find more owners for pets, cleaning teams for roads, and even provide gifts for a low income family at Christmas; the word adoption is defined by Merriam-Webster as the act or process of adopting a child. (Yes, there are other meanings such as adopting the act or process of beginning to use something new.) However, adoption and adopting are first and foremost about a child, a human being.

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