The West and their pets

Many families back home have pets, mainly dogs followed closely by cats.  The pets are usually kept for specific reasons – usually security or getting rid of mice respectively.  That is how I grew up and that is what I knew for a long time.  Let me add that these pets are not allowed indoors except when required to.  Nowadays though, some people have started keeping lap dogs.

You can imagine my shock, dismay and surprise when I moved to the west and learnt that people there keep their pets not only in their houses, but many of them consider them to be part of their families.  The shock! The confusion! How could a dog be one’s child, I asked myself.  I was equally shocked to hear that people mourn the passing of their pets.  One African colleague’s dog died and she passed memorial leaflets around letting everyone know about it.  I could not understand its, especially because she was African.

However, I now view pets slightly differently mainly because of the Dublin, shown below, one of my parents’ dogs.  I love Dublin and wish I could see more of her.  I hope I do not become heart broken when she passes away, though.


How do you view your pets?  Are they family members?


18 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. My Inner Chick
    Jun 12, 2016 @ 21:49:31

    how interesting how you see pets.
    We consider our cat as part of our family.
    He’s like a darn baby!
    And I know several people who consider their dogs as one of their children.
    I like that!
    That’s how animals should be treated!


  2. Otto von Münchow
    Apr 16, 2016 @ 21:39:59

    It all comes down to the cultural background and how you are raised, doesn’t it. I don’t think one way is more correct than the other, but when you start to get connected to pets, it’s hard to not understand how others might treat them with more of a distance.


  3. Marko
    Mar 27, 2016 @ 10:18:01

    Greetings from Poland


  4. anotherday2paradise
    Mar 09, 2016 @ 22:44:08

    We no longer have any pets, but the ones we had were always treated as part of the family. My daughter’s cat always sleeps in her bed with her, but the dogs sleep outside. It’s just the way it’s always been since they got them. My sister has always been very soppy about her animals. She only has one dog now, but he’s very spoilt. 🙂


  5. Minuscule Moments
    Feb 29, 2016 @ 08:01:37

    I have four cats, two dogs and three chickens. The dogs and chickens live outside. The cats mostly live outside too on the farm. We do consider them extended mini members of the family. Pets can lift your spirits when you are down, especially for people living alone. Our cats are good company for my boy who has anxiety. A cat on the end of his bed helps him get to sleep. There are many great reasons to have them, even though its costly we would be lost without our wonderful pets. Teaches the kids about loss and caring for something too.


    • Zambian Lady
      Mar 01, 2016 @ 15:11:31

      I am getting more knowledgeable about pets as the days go by. It had never occurred to me that pets can help people emotionally. I have seen programmes about this on TV before, but never believed as I thought people were just acting.


  6. Lori
    Feb 28, 2016 @ 17:07:22

    OMG, here in the U.S., sometimes pets get treated better than humans. We even have doggy daycare for people who work and can’t get home to let their dogs out. It’s done like a child’s daycare, where they learn and play and socialize.

    I know other parts of the world see their animals differently, and it’s just the culture we’re raised in. I find it interesting.

    After my husband and I tried to have children for several years, we finally just accepted our childfree status and got a puppy. That puppy became my everything. He filled all the roles I needed filled at the time. He was no lap dog by any means. He was a high energy herding dog that gave us reason to get out and be active. We enrolled him in an agility game called “flyball” and entered him in tournaments. My husband used to call it our “little league baseball” for dogs. I was devastated when he died. I will always consider him my heart dog who gave me reason to push onward. He changed my life.

    So, there’s my long-winded experience with my pet.


    • Zambian Lady
      Mar 01, 2016 @ 15:03:07

      Thank you for elightening me some more. I now understand how a pet can be one’s child/family. I am sorry to hear you could not have children but am happy to hear that you had your puppy to make your life fulfilled.


  7. Sonel
    Feb 28, 2016 @ 05:37:13

    Please correct my last remark. It should read : “It is NOT how it should be”.

    When you have a pet, it’s not only a huge responsibility, but also a great honour, as they have so much love to give.


  8. Sonel
    Feb 28, 2016 @ 05:29:55

    I am one of those people who see their pets as part of the family and yes, they are like children. It is difficult for some to understand how people like us can mourn for them. If a dog has been part of your life for 17 years and he only gave you unconditional love and was the best friend you ever had, then yes, you do mourn for years after they are gone. These darlings have feelings and they only want to be loved and taken care of and I can’t stand people who abuse them.

    I have a lot of respect for your African colleague and know how she must have felt and I feel for her. We had a few dogs in our lifetime and all of them have been our children and it never gets easier when they do pass on.

    I am always shocked and surprised, and even sad when I read that there are people who don’t see pets as part of their family. It is how it should be.


  9. Tiny
    Feb 28, 2016 @ 04:07:23

    I just lost my Bumble this week. That was very sad as he really was a family member. I remember when a Zambian friend told us about her mother who came to visit her and her family here in the States for the first time and was totally shocked to find their big dog was sleeping in their bed. She just couldn’t understand that.


    • Zambian Lady
      Feb 28, 2016 @ 11:45:37

      I am sorry to hear about Bumble. I think the way we regard pets may be cultural as well. I understand your friend’s mother – I have been (maybe I still am) in that shocked state before.


  10. jono
    Feb 28, 2016 @ 03:00:50

    I have had as many as 12 cats and 5 dogs living with my wife and I. They are part of the family and are treated as such, although they are not treated like children or other humans. The horses and chickens are always outside. We have had indoor and outdoor birds, as well as aquariums with fish and frogs. I think it is like having our own zoo and is usually quite entertaining. Dublin looks like a happy dog.


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