The Five Stages of "Critter"
Without considering areas of animal treatment outside household pets, there is a spectrum of pet treatment, and the goal of our educational programs is to move people along the spectrum. Our beliefs will run contrary to many other's beliefs, including some who consider themselves "good pet owners". Our mission is to educate all people, no matter where they are along the spectrum currently, and try to move them along.
Possession -> Tool -> Animal -> Pet -> Family Member
- A possession is often seen as a replaceable accessory. This is tragic, as it means the owner fails to see the uniqueness of each individual pet, may not realize that it is a living creature, and fails to understand that it cannot simply be replaced when it is too old or falls out of fashion.
- A tool that does a specific task. The pet will probably not be a member of the family, since it is usually constrained to a specific job, for example, a hunting dog that lives in a outdoor run, a mouser that lives in the barn, and so forth.
- An animal is chained in the yard as "protection" or trained to fight or attack. These animals are treated abysmally by their owners. Some are abused. Abuse cannot be tolerated. Pets do not belong chained in the yard. In fact, in some areas, it is now against the law.
- A pet is more than just an animal. It spends time with the family and plays with the children, but it may still be an "outside" pet, which means that for at least part of the day, it is separated from the pack. These pets may get regular care, but are not fully integrated with the family.
- A family member spends most of his time with his family, they want to have him around, and enjoy interacting with him. He is indoors most of the time. He has his own bed and a crate for rest. The crate is his safe place, not a place of punishment. At this point, a pet is a family member with fur.
What kind of critter do you have?