What is National Pet Day?

Today is National Pet Day, because we don’t have enough days to celebrate companion animals. 

This on the heels of April 8’s “Dog Fighting Awareness Day.”
The Oxford English Dictionary defines pet as, “A domestic or tamed animal kept for companionship or pleasure.”

I personally don’t like the word pet, and yet isn’t that what animals are for us? Kept for our pleasure. You would refute that by reminding me of all the money you spend on your companion, or the time you’ve spent training, walking, and playing with your pet. You buy the expensive food. You have pet insurance and get the best medical care for your baby. You adopt, not shop.

Oh, you spend a lot of money on your pets alright. The pet industry is growing by leaps and bounds. During the economic downturn that cost many of us our jobs, our homes and our savings, we kept spending money on our pets. That was the one industry that didn’t suffer.


And while you do this for the welfare of your furry family member, you also do it because it gives you social standing… right? Come on, how many blog posts out there brag about how THEY feed their animals THIS FOOD because MY BABY only gets the BEST. Really? Your dog eats cat shit. Do you really think he cares how much money you spend on his food?

Pet ownership funds the horrific practice of puppy mill breeding, but it’s not just puppies. Where to you think those birds, reptiles, or small mammals come from? They’re smuggled. They’re captured from the wild. They’re bred. And we don’t ask.

We take them in when they’re young and cute, and we continue to care for them when they’re old and infirm.
Have you seen this: a picture of a cute animal is posted on a social media site and the comments beneath are all about how “I want!” which is the same thing we post under a photo of a cute pair of shoes. Notice no one posts, “I think I can provide that animal a good quality of life and I am committed to try.”

Our pet ownership can be downright ridiculous. We have lions and tigers in neighborhood backyards. We have monkeys in homes. And we support animals kept to amuse us in prisons we call zoos. Millions of us are watching a giraffe kept in a small barn in hopes of seeing her give birth. Meanwhile, the for-profit zoo that owns that giraffe has raked in hundreds of thousands of dollars.

If we find we cannot care for our pet, we struggle to find alternate living arrangements. We beg friends and family members to step up for the animal. We look look for someone in the community. We call every rescue and no-kill shelter in the area. We face public ridicule in the process. Rescuers post stuff to social media about how those who surrender their animals are losers, are cruel, are heartless. Ironic isn’t it that so are the rescuers.

Pet ownership means we never have to eat alone.
To review: what do we get from pet ownership?


The opportunity to learn to be responsible for someone besides ourselves.

Connection with a community of like-minded individuals.

A sense of moral superiority.

And what does the animal get? 

I guess that depends on what you give. But whatever it is, I don’t think it’s anywhere near what you’re getting in return, and it absolutely doesn’t justify the awful things animals suffer so we can own pets.

Here’s hoping you don’t need a special day set aside to be reminded of that. 


10 thoughts on “What is National Pet Day?

  1. Yes, I miss being stalked while I eat. And every bowl or plate not first attended to by Jamima’s rough tongue seems a waste. I post under cute cat or dog pics that I Want! I don’t bother with shoe pictures. And my home would always be the perfect forever home for any cat. But I hear your point. Cheers,H

    1. People who read my blog more than once typically are people who would do all they could to provide an animal a safe and happy home. However they don’t typically speak out when they see people fawning over pictures of animals who are being exploited. I hope that will change.

  2. Even though I feed my dogs and cat more expensive food, and write about it on my blog, it doesn’t mean I feel morally superior. I do it for the first 3 reasons, but not the last. And I write about it because I want people to share in the joy that my animals give me, and to share some things I’ve learned along the way that might help them. I don’t like the term “pet ownership”, and try not to use it.
    I do agree things have gone too far, however, when people think lions and monkeys and alligators make good pets (I recently watched a show where they had to take alligators away from people living in an apartment). And I’m not even sure what the point of National Pet Day is, or many of the other zillion days someone made up.

    1. There is nothing wrong with feeding you companions better food for health reasons. But you have to admit some do it because they like saying “I’m better than you.”

      1. Unfortunately, that’s the motivation for a lot of people for a lot of things. And some do it just because they can afford the more expensive foods, whether they think it’s better or not. We do it even though it’s a bit of a struggle financially, when we do think (and hope) it’s better.

  3. I have to respectfully disagree. What would have been Rumpy’s fate, had you not found him that day? I know Jack’s fate. He was unwanted and unloved. Thankfully a Rescue sent him up here to a No-Kill shelter, where even if never adopted, he would have at least survived. But Jack has a life. That’s more than survival, it’s a life. A life Maureen and I have given him. And you gave Rumpy a life. I think the symbiotic contract that exists between our companion animals and ourselves is a beautiful thing that benefits both species.

  4. This is SO not me. We feed them well, vet them if they need it. Make sure they have vaccines and get clipped when they are beginning to look like small dirty piles of rag. Otherwise? They’ve had the same bowls (stainless lasts forever) for more than a decade. We love them and get great joy out of their companionship. I don’t think there’s any bragging in this.

  5. It is sad that one might need to be reminded but for some, unfortunately, the reminder might be a good thing. I so agree, though, that one shouldn’t need to be. I certainly don’t for I do so love them. My present little wonder was by my side when I went down with a stroke and went to my roommate to get help. I hadn’t had her very long and she was so young (is only three now) and this was two years ago and was surprised and grateful for how very intuitive she was…and is. Thank you for your post.

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