Saturday, October 17, 2009

OPINION: How much do you love your pet?

Chase Strolenberg

Section: Opinion
Whether its dogs, cats, monkeys or rats, North America loves pets. But could this love be turning into something worse?
How does a student like myself react to television shows and news articles about pet-obsessed individuals? Usually with large amounts of interest and confusion.

What exactly constitutes a pet obsession? Let's try to hash out a definition. People that are pet-obsessed can be characterized into a number of different categories, but effectively they are individuals who prioritize the animals in their lives to the point of isolating themselves from the rest of human society. Some isolating factors can include bizarre worship or treatment of a single household pet, such as the act of a woman treating her dog like a child by throwing birthday parties for it and buying it new dresses.

Another example can be what is referred to as hoarding, which is the excessive collection of a single form of animal. The clearest stereotypical example of this is the cat lady; a woman that is emotionally involved with her numerous cats to the point that she actually begins to isolate herself from the rest of society in favour of interacting with her pets. This example is common, and has been reported in women as young as 20-years-old.