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Monday, May 02, 2005

Of Pets and Starving Children

Daphne Merkin's useful article on our culture's treatment of pets was very worthwhile.  I really worried before my wife and I took in Zeke Leib-Schonfeld; I was obsessed with the ethical problem of expending large sums of money on a pet that could otherwise go to starving children. 

I admit, though, that I love my dog and I'm glad I didn't avoid pet ownership on a purported moral highground.  Still, I try to control unnecessary spending on him.  I am not among the 31.5 million dog owners that give their dogs gifts for the holidays.  Nor am I among the 9.8 million dog owner that celebrate their dogs' birthdays.  Other fun and disturbing pet facts can be found here.

Posted by Ethan Leib on May 2, 2005 at 10:40 AM in Odd World | Permalink


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I did them just like you did and everything scratches them! They were so beautiful at first and I’m really bummed. We plan on covering them with the tile that looks like wood now that I have a great dane cute kittens

Posted by: lisa | Jul 24, 2021 7:23:42 AM

I don’t think we will ever be without a dog. We are introducing leash-handling to our 3 year old with the beagle and he enjoys watching Baron retrieve balls and frisbies in the yard.

Posted by: cream point | Jul 13, 2021 11:19:54 AM

Yes, www.dogster.com is insane.

Posted by: Ethan Leib | May 2, 2005 11:29:17 AM

What about two last names?

Posted by: Ethan Leib | May 2, 2005 11:27:30 AM

So long as people adopt pets from shelters or that simply need a better home, I don’t see much of an ethical dilemma—Most people in lieu of adopting a pet will not adopt a starving child, or divert every disposable dollar to children’s charities. But, it makes a huge difference to the life of that one adopted animal to come to a loving home. Now, a different story with people who purchase bred or “show” animals at outlandish prices. These purchases ignore both the starving child and the existing shelter animal, and also contribute to a commonly abusive industry that annually swells shelter populations.

On a side note, though, that very anthropomorphic doggie web page seems a bit inconsistent with your firm no-birthday party, gifts, etc. stance on dog ownership!

Posted by: Brooks | May 2, 2005 11:27:06 AM

The first step in preventing anthropomorphization of your pet is not to give it a last name.

Posted by: Ruchira Paul | May 2, 2005 11:26:37 AM

It's hard to explain. He jumps back and forth from his hind legs to his front legs. Kind of like a rodeo mule. My wife calls him a "mule terrier." That's pretty funny.

Posted by: Ethan Leib | May 2, 2005 11:26:37 AM

What is "donkey-like behavior" in a dog? Pulling carts around? Hee-hawing all day? I'm really curious.

Posted by: Matt | May 2, 2005 10:56:11 AM

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