Elaine Vigneault believes that pet ownership is wrong, specifically that owning a dog is wrong.
There’s a whole level of offensiveness to this argument along the lines of owning pets is akin to owning slaves that I’d like to bypass (for a while, at least).
I’d like to just talk about dogs and humans. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that dogs were domesticated about 10,000-12,000 years ago. And then we learned to farm. And read and write. In other words, it wasn’t just that the wolf became dog by our interactions; we became “us” because of the dog.
It makes no sense to me to argue that people should not own dogs. Without people, there is no such thing as ‘dog.’ There are just wolves. Do militant animal rights activists really want to do away with the dog as an animal?
Also, how can one argue against dog ownership if the dogs don’t mind? When I’m sleeping, if it’s just me, Mrs. Wigglebottom curls up in the crook of my leg. If she were enslaved, wouldn’t she rip my throat out? When she gets off-leash, she could run off. Instead, she just waits for me to fix her collar and we move on.
Being a pet is not a bad gig for a dog. They get food and shelter and medical care.
But I was thinking about how some of the animal rights activists wanted to make an exception for service dogs. And I kind of want to say, in response to that, it must be nice to live in your world.
I don’t have that luxury.
I’m able to live where I live without fear because I have a dog.
I go to the park when I want to regardless of other people’s schedules, because I have a dog.
I am happy to get in my car and drive by myself to my parents’ house seven hours away because I have a dog.
There’s not a place I’m afraid to drive when my dog is in my car with me.
There are very few places I’m nervous about walking when my dog’s with me.
I barely give being home alone a second thought because my dog is here.
I am not afraid of strange men coming up and talking to me when I have my dog with me.
I’m not afraid of exploring new places.
And so on.
I’ll admit that I’m more neurotic than your average person.
But I look at my brothers and my male friends and I see them moving through the world without fear. They think nothing of going where they want and doing what they want when they want to do it. Even by themselves.
The closest I come to feeling that way is with Mrs. Wigglebottom.
And to suggest that my freedom is immoral because I have to own a dog in order to have it? That’s so offensive to me. That, in order to be a good feminist, I should concede living in fear of the world, because owning dogs is unfair to the dogs.
When, again, is it my turn? First I had to wait for men to get their shit straightened out before I could be truly free and now I have to wait until my freedom doesn’t hurt potential human life before I can have it and now it turns out that even dogs are in line for human rights before me?