Sit! Stay! Roll Over! Posted on February 26th, 2010 by

Puppy chow, catnip and hamster wheels. Americans are obsessed with their pets. They feed them gourmet food, buy them little outfits for cold days, and leave them messages on the answering machine when they are away. Coming from a culture like that, it can be hard to understand African’s adversity to dogs and other animals.

Here dogs are for security and cats are for mouse control. Dogs bark at intruders and cats do away with any pests. They are purely practical. For the most part, they are ignored and paid little attention, except for perhaps avoidance. Many people here don’t like dogs, which is understandable. Pets aren’t cared for here as they are in the states. Dogs may not be friendly, they may have diseases. With those circumstances it makes sense why people would be afraid of dogs.

 In the States, things are at the other extreme. Some people lavish their pets with more attention than they give their friends and spend more money on their pets than the government does on education. People take Fido to the doggy-playground so he won’t get lonely during the day, Mittens to the vet to have her teeth cleaned, and build Squeaky a veritable palace that connects his cage to every room in the house.

I find both of these extremes a bit absurd. Pets can be great companions and useful as guards and pest controllers. On the other hand, they are just pets and don’t need monthly check-ups at the vet’s, one hundred and one play toys or food better on par with human fare.


One Comment

  1. Pet Groomer says:

    I like your take on this Mara – pets “as guards and pest controllers.”

    I’m a professional pet groomer – dogs and cats – and yes, “Americans are obsessed with their pets.” Most of the cats I see wouldn’t be allowed near a mouse, lol. But you can never stop a dog from barking!

    Great post, I wonder what others have to say?