A Sense of Entitlement

Recently I read a blog post about lunch thieves written by Yuki Noguchi and posted on the NPR website. She asked manners consultant Jeanne Hamilton why people steal their co-workers’ lunches. The answer? Because of a sense of entitlement.

A sense of entitlement. It’s the excuse we use for all sorts of bad behavior.

It’s why people drive slow in the left lane. It’s why they hog the middle of the aisle at the grocery store.

Thieves take things because they feel they deserve to have it, or the money they’ll get when they sell it.

Entitlement is why men beat their wives and parents beat their kids.

Many huskys and malamutes are bought and then surrendered at shelters because those cute furball babies quickly grow into big dogs that destroy things.
Many huskys and malamutes are bought and then surrendered at shelters because those cute furball babies quickly grow into big dogs that destroy things.

Advertisers convince us we have that sense of entitlement. You DESERVE a break today. And so we steal a co-worker’s lunch because Ronald McDonald said I deserve a break today, but I don’t want to pay for a Big Mac, so I’ll eat your baloney sandwich instead.

And you DESERVE to be able to carry a gun with you wherever you go, and when people don’t act like you want them to, you have the right to shoot them. Even children.

Kids get the message of entitlement at an early age. Parents won’t buy you our product? Bug them relentlessly until they do. And for many kids, the tactic works.


A sense of entitlement is behind most of the problems faced by animals today. Humans have a right to the land or its resources, so we destroy animal habitat. We have a right to an animal’s body parts, so we kill them to the point of extinction.

We have the right to own any animal we want as a pet, so we have lions and tigers in backyards in some states in the US. And when we don’t want those animals as pets anymore, we have a right to dump them, like the pythons that were dumped in the Everglades. They’ve now wiped out many of the other wildlife species that once lived there.

I have the right to disobey leash laws if I want. Like this week when my friend Dennis the cat was chased by a dog being walked off-leash by its owner. When Dennis’ human yelled at the dog’s human, she responded, “oh, but he won’t hurt anyone.” But Dennis was hurt. Not badly, but he was hurt. But that doesn’t matter, does it? Because Dennis is a cat and that dog’s human is convinced that what she does is OK.


In a world where 1 out of every 25 persons is a sociopath (according to Harvard instructor Dr. Martha Stout in her book, The Sociopath Next Door), we must accept that 4% of the population will do whatever they want whenever they want, and will go to any means to get their way. Without laws to intervene combined with a will to enforce said laws, humans will continue to act purely in their own self-interest.

They’ll start their own animal rescue, even though there’s a reputable, well-run no-kill shelter already in operation in town, and their reasons for doing so will change depending on what they need to tell you to elicit a donation.

They’ll hoard animals, because letting them slowly die while packed tightly in a feces-filled room with other anxious animals is preferable to humane euthanization.

They’ll buy exotic pets such as reptiles, birds, or sugar gliders, without once stopping to think of the cost of caring for the animal or what that care might entail. They want one, and that’s all that matters.

They’ll take cute photos of animals that the rest of us ooh! and aah! over without once asking under what conditions the photos were made, or if the animal is safe and well cared for. I mean, who cares how the tiger cub is kept, as long as you get your photo made with him.


If you really want to stand up for the welfare of animals, you need to know your enemy. You are up against people who want their own way, and have convinced the rest of us that there’s nothing wrong with that.

That’s not a war we’ll win by sitting on our asses signing online petitions.



34 thoughts on “A Sense of Entitlement

  1. “That’s not a war we’ll win by sitting on our ass signing online petitions.”

    Thank you for speaking the truth I’ve always believed….I don’t even bother with online petitions anymore. Once in a while, in the past, I did (more out of “social pressure” than truly wanting to on my own)…but I soon realized no amount of signatures on an online petition will change behavior, force a harsh sentence, or change the actions of another nation.
    Having our own Malamute….we do everything we can to be good neighbors and law-abiding folks….she is current on her shots, leashed at all times when off our property, displays her tags, and when she is in the backyard playing…we supervise her, and if she is out there barking her head off at a neighbor or a squirrel or whatever….we make her stop or bring her in….so she is not disturbing folks.
    We do have several cats here….and in the past couple of years have made great efforts to ensure they are not just fed and sheltered, but cared for medically too. At one time we could barely do this. We made the necessary changes in our own life style and spending habits to turn this around. They deserve the very best we can give them.
    In short…we dedicate our lives and resources to the animals in our care, and will never stop.
    As for the rest of it….folks just doing all kinds of inappropriate and even criminal acts….whenever, however and to whomever they wish….it’s mind boggling.
    Thank you for this blog. Thank you for speaking out. You often, are much braver, than me.

    1. As you well know, caring for animals is no small task. So it never ceases to amaze me the number of people who take on the task without even bothering to ask what they’re getting themselves in for. It’s as though the animal’s needs don’t matter. Maybe it’s because they don’t.

  2. Pleased to meet you Rumpy. I so agree with your post. Humans take on a cute furball without thinking of the consequences when they grow up. It’s one of my personal issues about someone getting a dog without putting any thought to it. (My own blog has a lot of doggy posts in it if you fancy a nose).
    We have a dog, and she is our pride and joy. She picked me to be her owner by curling up on my lap under my coat whilst I was making a fuss of her 6 sisters and 3 brothers. I am glad you’ve found a good home and animal company. Hope Dennis is over his ordeal.

    1. He wasn’t badly injured, thankfully. But it was the reaction of the dog’s owner that floored me. Really? You just watched your dog chase and tree a cat and you have the nerve to say the dog wouldn’t hurt anyone? How clueless can you be?

      1. Exactly. Some owners even think it’s cute, and I know several whose dogs have set on mine to be told ‘he’s only playing’. Maggie has a blind side, and so I’m a bit protective, but luckily the majority of people I meet on our walks know that and keep their dogs under control without dismissing the natural doggie curiosity.

  3. Woooh!!  I really love it when the truth smacks me right between the eyes.  I agree 100% with you, Rumpydog.  And I decided several weeks ago it is time for me to stop talking about change and start taking some action, even when it’s inconvenient and even when I’d rather be home

    1. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be home. It may be your inner self knows that what you think you want to do isn’t really a good idea. Trust your instincts.

      1. I always trust my instincts. And they have been telling me for some time to make a difference. It’s time I listened. Thank you for always being willing to say what needs to be said.

  4. It’s the old, we have met the enemy and it is us. Just for the record, Jack doesn’t destroy things out of a sense of entitlement. In fact, after confronting him, I’ve learned that he doesn’t destroy things at all. See, it’s that other dog. The one in the mirror. When I’m not here, he escapes. He’s the one who chewed up the electric bill.

  5. wow….heavy post! You are of course right. Entitlement is a dangerous thing. And people need to ask more questions about things like those cute little tiger photos etc…
    I do sign petitions, and I know a lot of good news comes back from signing them, and sometimes it is a big help. But you are also right in saying that we need to get off our asses. There is always something more that can be done,. It is a hard truth, but a truth just the same.
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

  6. That’s sadly true, Rumpy. First they buy the “cute little polarbearlike puppies with the blue eyes” and later they notice that the formerly cute puppy is a big dog, who has some needs and they dump them. I agree with you, the paper of petitions doesn’t blush, so we should help whenever we notice that something smells fishy…

  7. Terrific post Rumpy, right on the money. What if Dennis ran into the street? The results may have been tragic, for him and perhaps the dog! We hate to see dogs walked off leash. People think that they might have control, but animals do have minds of their own sometimes and we need to see that they’re kept safe.

  8. Excellent post. We are a generation of entitled unresponsible enabled brats. I have to deal with people like this every day. sometimes I wish I could have their mentality so I could slap the crap out of them. But because I am a responsible and considerate person, I don’t. At some point, we have to stop enabling these people but how? Online petitions don’t do it. when they are fined for their actions, they pay the money and continue. I try to help when I can. That’s all any of us can do. Sooner or later, we will win. I’m told good triumphs over bad and I have to keep believing that. I have to keep hoping.

  9. You said a mouthful here! Excellent..Something that goes through my mind is the many homeless people I see with dogs. I understand wanting companionship…but if you can’t feed yourself…

  10. Good job, Rumpy. One of our biggest peeves is how humans keep building and destroying animals’ natural habitats, and THEN have the audacity to bitch about there being too many deer, etc.

  11. The clothing line popular with kids says it all = “It’s All About Me” I think this country may go downhill if this attitude prevails. mSometimes I’m glad I won’t be alive when the self-centered younger generation takes over.

  12. No online petitions for me. All they do is send my personal information to someone else who will sell it. There’s a sense of entitlement too, and a little bullying when people question my commitment to a cause when I don’t sign. It’s always a good time to question something.

  13. Excellent post and a subject matter that should be mandatory study in high school and college. It is so much a mainstream mindset that a great majority of people don’t even see it going on around them…

  14. Too many peeple fink dey can do what dey want here where me n Mum live…..it iz pawfull da way dey carry on here. Mum sayz da werld iz goin to ”H*LL in a handbaskit” n she iz freeked out about da 1 n 25 are Sociopathz….now she iz gonna neber want to go out…which iz okay wif me 😉
    Lub Nylablue n Mum too xoxo

  15. That sense of entitlement and the opportunity to exercise is behind so many things. Yep, it’s about time we did some calling out on it. I had an altercation with a old man who let-encouraged his dog, which was on a leash, harrass a cat. The dog was being controlled but the man wasn’t. I stood my ground and he left.

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