THE term “planned pet- hood” cropped up recently in relation to preventing unwanted or accidental litters of pups or kittens entering the world.
There’s no doubt de- sexing is the clear winner in the planned pet- hood stakes.
As our relationship with companion animals evolves, terms such as this join “pet parent” and “fur- kids” as part of the vernacular for pet owners ( or pet guardians).
Some lucky pets have mums and dads, and grandparents, or go on play dates, demonstrating the strength of the bond people can have with their pets.
In the US, courts have made rulings in pet- custody disputes when marriages have broken down.
Australia has not yet seen the rise of pet- parenting orders but some legal experts are recommending pet pre- nups.
Keith Akers, co- author of the book
Humanising Animals: Civilising People, says while the Family Court still treats animals as goods or chattels, informal “pet parenting” agreements between former partners are becoming increasingly common.
We know having a strong bond with a pet reaps all sorts of physical, emotional and social benefi ts for humans, so the rise of words which normalise or celebrate people- pet relationships are inevitable.
It’s not about comparing raising a pet to raising a child, which are clearly very different propositions.
It’s more about the level of care, the strength of the relationship and demonstrating the change in society’s view on companion animals.
The culture of sharing life with pets inside our homes means we can get closer and understand them better than previous generations whose pets stayed outdoors.
At the end of the day, actions speak louder than words.
Pets don’t get hung up on the linguistics.
Basically, pets require a good level of care, and they need to feel safe, healthy and happy, while getting enough attention to ensure they’re not bored or lonely.
Much like kids, really.