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Can You Love Your Pet Too Much?

By Linda Cole

Pets give us unconditional love from the moment we form a bond with them, or for some pets, from the moment they enter our home. In return, we shower our pets with toys, good food, great treats like CANIDAE TidNips™, and all the love they deserve. But is there such a thing as giving your pet too much love?

Suzanne Alicie wrote a fun article recently on “The World's Most Expensive Dog Accessories,” and it made me giggle. I looked at one of my dogs sleeping peacefully on an old blanket that has seen better days. It reminded me of when two of my dogs were puppies. They had a disagreement one night over who would get the blanket – the poor blanket was caught in the middle and ended up with a few holes in the middle. Once they finally settled their disagreement, they laid down together on their prize, each one sure they had won the argument. The dogs don't care if it's a ratty old blanket or an expensive throw; as long as it's where I am, everything is right in their world. I love who my pets are as individuals. I love how they want to be with me all the time, and if that's loving them too much – then I'm guilty.

My pets aren't children in fur, but they are my furry kids. I worry about them when they're home alone, I want to keep them safe during a storm and if one gets sick, I fret over them until they're better. If it's chilly, I throw down the tattered blanket because it has comfortable smells on it they love. I enjoy working from home so I can be here to make sure they're alright. When one of the cats wants to spend some time chatting about nothing, I'll stop what I'm doing to listen to them. I like knowing my dogs can roam freely in their dog pen and don't have to be tied up when they're outside, and they all know basic commands and what I expect from them. They aren't perfect, and I don't want them to be perfect. I'm not, and they still love me!

I have non-pet friends who don't understand how I could be happy spending so much time with my pets. They try to convince me I'm spoiling them, and say I care more about my dogs and cats than I do about having a life. They don't understand; my pets are my life. It's who I am. I could never be happy as a non-pet person. And if that’s loving pets too much, so be it.

I know full well my pets are pets. I don't refuse dinner invitations or a night out with my friends just so I can stay at home with my pets. As long as I have someone who I trust to look after my pets, I'll take a vacation. I expect my dogs to pay attention to me and do as I ask. Part of loving a pet is knowing them well enough that you can see behavioral issues before they become a problem, and get them help when it's needed. We all want stable, happy and healthy pets that are glad to see us every time we come home.

We make a commitment to our pets the minute we bring them into our homes. We promise to care for them through sickness and health, and sometimes that means declining dinner invitations or postponing a vacation. That doesn't mean I've put my pets ahead of other people. It means I'm fulfilling my commitment to my pets. Yes, sometimes your life will revolve around your pets if they have medical issues or behavioral problems that need correcting. That's being a responsible pet owner, not someone who loves their pet too much.

I don't have a problem with pet owners who can afford to spend a small fortune on their pets, and I don't see that as spoiling the pet. Not correcting them when they need it is spoiling them, because that's when they can develop unwanted and destructive behaviors. It's similar to correcting children so they can learn how to behave and what you expect from them.

Being a pet owner is an awesome responsibility, and not one that should be taken lightly. Pets make our lives happier and healthier, and as far as I'm concerned you just can't give your pet too much love.

Photo by capsicina

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