Animals as Substitutes for Children or Partner to fill emotional Gap – 30 Jun 11

Nature

I think I have made clear that I am against producing animals only for eating them. In the same way however I am against producing animals for other selfish purposes: for your own entertainment or for your ego.

What is the reason for you to have a pet? Many times it is really only your entertainment and often even a substitute for missing social contact in life. I have met so many people who use their pets because they don’t have another outlet for their feelings.

Many of them need someone whom they can command. They enjoy the feeling that they say something and it is done. As they cannot do this with other people, they get themselves a dog and teach him what he should do. This makes them feel in power and makes them feel good about themselves. But is this the right reason for keeping a dog, just to have a slave-like being that obeys?

Others don’t have anybody in their lives whom they can hug, who gives them warmth and love. Many of these people are simply not able to make friends. They are not able to make contact with people in a normal way and this is how they feel lonely. The solution is to buy a pet. A cat that can lie in their lap, whom they can stroke and who comes to them because it is also just lonely and needs someone. They can talk to the cat and it never answers anything that they don’t want to hear. But shouldn’t you rather go out and learn how to get along with human persons, face the real life instead?

Sometimes cats and dogs even have to serve as substitutes for precisely a certain role: children. People who cannot have children or who are too busy to really have children, sometimes get a pet or two and behave as if they are their children. They call themselves mum and dad and have the feeling that they really have a little family in this way. There is however the fact that a cat or a dog does not have such a high life expectancy as a real child would have. So whenever the pet has to face its death, the ‘parents’ are devastated. After all, this dog was like their son to them! They try everything to save it, bring it to the vet and spend lots of money but in the end the dog will die before them. I have even met people who then, naturally after an appropriate time for mourning, went and bought another dog that looked just exactly like the old one, the same race, the same colour and the same height. They call it by the same name and become its parents again. Don’t you think you are cheating your own feelings? Buying children and when they die, you replace them again?

And of course cats or dogs are not as care-intensive as are children! You don’t need to be pregnant and give birth to them, you can simply go and buy them! It is pretty easy, they even give you a complete pack of accessories along with the pet when you buy it. For a child, you will be responsible at least for the next 18 years. You will have to send it to school, you have to take care of it when it has its own friends and when it makes its own experiences. A cat or a dog is not that difficult! For people who are lonely, pets are also easier than partners. They don’t argue, they don’t cheat on you, you don’t need to date them and convince them that you are the one – you just buy them and there you are! It is just so much easier. But again, is that really how you should live your life and how the animal should live its life?

Reconsider why you want to have a pet. If it is because of your ego and the wish to command or if it is as a substitute for human companionship or if it is only for your own entertainment, don’t do it. I love animals and for their sake I want to ask you to give them their freedom. Tomorrow I will write a bit about the cases in which I believe it is fine to have a pet opposed to those which I described today.

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  1. Julia

    Dear Swami, I enjoyed reading your article very much and would like to share something with you here what you might not know or maybe you did not write about it as you want to be nice. There is another factor why people have pets. Many know but normally do not talk about it because it is a taboo. The fact is that pets are not only filling emotional gaps but physical ones as well… sounds funny, I know, but this is the truth! Many people have pets as their sex partners, they don’t only kiss or lick their mouth but also their genitals. People even have intercourse with their pets. Women have dogs trained for this, men have dogs, goats, pigs and even calves. I was shocked when I was visiting one of my friends in Chicago. We were sitting in her bedroom and talking. Then I saw her dog come over and start licking her which was understandable. I was surprised though when I noticed that he was more interested to smell and lick her down there and she did not object! I asked her about this and she smiled and said that it was usually their intimate time so he was uses to do this and she also enjoyed it nearly daily. She told me that they even had sex sometime and she offered me to join them. I said no thank you, said goodnight and left the room but I couldn’t sleep the whole night. I was staying 3 days with her but I couldn’t get my mind off this. I had heard about this before but after this I had to believe it. Then I found out more disgusting details. It actually seems sick and poor to me.

  2. Donna

    Well Swami ji, after reading Julia’s comment I have a question for you: what do you think of her story? What do you think of those people, what is your opinion about this? Did you hear this for the first time or were you trying not to bring up this topic in your blog?
    With much Love,
    Donna

  3. Swami Balendu

    Dear Donna, I will call it raping a poor animal. In my opinion a dog would never be sexually attracted to human. Anything forcing against their wish should be considered rape. For me it’s horrible to even think about it but I had heard about it before, too. It seems that many sick people also live in this world. Lots of Love…

  4. Niharika Mishra Mitra

    Yes swami ji, another immoral act by humans…”buy” pets when we are in need and then throw them away when the need is over. After all the poor animal cannot file a police complaint.

  5. Swami Balendu

    Dear Niharika, I really feel sorry about those poor animals. I believe a real animal lover will never want to have pets. Love gives freedom and doesn’t want to make slaves. Nobody should take away their independence. Let them free. It’s their real nature. You are right, they cannot even complain. I know many pet lovers could be angry now since I am writing about animals and their rights but i had to say my feelings on this subject. Thank you for your comment. I hope you have seen yesterday’s blog, too, about same topic and I am not done, have a lot more to say to this.

  6. Niharika Mishra Mitra

    I am certainly not against having pets…animals too need a home, shelter and other things that we need. But I am certainly against buying them , trading them like commodities. That is why I keep supporting “adoption” rather than trade 🙂 Homeless animals live in terrible conditions .. feel very sad to see their state and on the other hand man enjoys animal trade…Yes we all have the right to talk about opinions in a democracy as long as we do not harm anyone.. 🙂

  7. Swami Balendu

    Dear Niharika, this is one of my topics for tomorrow’s blog – because it is a lovely thing to save an animal which would otherwise die of hunger on street because it lost all the sense of how to take care of itself – human made it lose it!

  8. Niharika Mishra Mitra

    Swami ji they die because they become too many in number and there are not enough resources for them. The way The Indian local dogs have survived in general for so many thousands of years…. is an example of the “survival of the fittest”.

  9. Janna Coker

    Many animals have been engineered to suit humans and thus have never existed in the wild. Some breeds of dog are physically incapable of being born without caesarian section. (I find this appalling) Cats and dogs have been living with people for thousands of years. Research suggests we evolved together, as we experience and exhibit many of the same emotions. I understand the caring motivation to set them free – it is truly a beautiful sentiment. But I’m not sure how practical it is. My cat is healthy and safe and living a much longer life than if she were out in the woods or on the street. Her companionship is not a substitute for human interaction, but a parallel. She brings a lot of love into my home. I’m not sure what the solution is here – the relationship of humans to animals in society is very complex and an important topic to discuss.

  10. Karimah OntheBrightside

    Without any chance for marriage at my age, I have a cat to keep me company. There ain’t anyone else out there who’s going to be this easy of a companion.

  11. Emily

    Perhaps it is because, in my culture, having pets is very common, desirable, and normal, but I do disagree with certain points here. Though I agree that it is wrong to abuse or harm any animal in any way, I think having a pet can be an amazing experience. For people who have a hard time making friends and connecting with other people, maybe that is just who they are and they can’t force themselves to socialize just because they “should.” Having a pet is a healthy way to find companionship in a loving being and, honestly, the pet truly loves you in return.Moreover, domesticated animals can actually provide therapeutic benefits to humans. There are clinics that train horses and dogs to be with humans, teaching them trust and patience. Many humans are helped greatly with anxiety and other issues by connecting with an animal- our brother in nature. Other animals serve as rescue pets, aiding people with handicaps like blindness. It’s a beautiful thing… just something different from your culture. When I see animals starving and dirty on the streets of India with lice and rabies, it makes me really sad that they are treated like trash.

  12. Charlotte

    I find it really sad to see the animals on the street in India who are sometimes painfully thin, starving and lice ridden. In the UK our culture is very accepting of keeping pets and whilst of course there are cases of abuse and ill treatment of pets, I think on the whole our animals are treated well. In my family we have dogs and cats who are loved and well cared for and I don’t believe they suffer in any way. They are a comfort to us as humans but we do not need them and I don’t think we are abusing them in any way.

  13. Mirela

    When you have a pet, you should have also two ressources: love and time. In Germany a lot of old people have a pet. They often have nobody else, but they have a vast amount of time so they can focus on the pet and give them all of their love. I think this is fine.

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