THE WHIS­PERER

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - PETS - Anne Box­hall Email abox­hall@big­pond.com

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.

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