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As a member of the human race, I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished.
Sure, we’ve made some mistakes (global warming, genocide, “Oz: The Great and Powerful”), but we also built the pyramids, discovered mathematics, and taught dolphins to do back flips for our entertainment. When you compare us to some of the other creatures on the planet, like dung beetles, humans are pretty awesome.
Which is why I’m concerned about a disturbing new trend: people treating their pets like they’re human. NEWSFLASH: We had to go through thousands of generations of natural selection to get to where we are. Your domesticated little wolf shouldn’t get to skip the line just because you let them sleep inside.
At the risk of offending pet owners and PETA activists worldwide, herewith, the five worst anthropomorphic offenses:
1. Putting your pet on the phone
What is the correct response when someone puts a dog on the other end of the line? All I hear is the kind of heavy mouth breathing I’d expect from a 900 number. I’m not sure what you expect me to say but I am certain that Alexander Graham Bell would be appalled.
2. Dressing your pet like a human
I’ve seen a lot of pets recently that own more outfits than I do. I’ve got no problem with putting boots on your dog to protect his paws, but when your dog has separate black and white tie formal wear, you’ve gone too far.
3. Giving a pet your last name
Just about every human comes with a proud lineage and a surname that ties them to their genetic forebears. When you name your cat “Fluffy Weinberg,” you have disrespected all your ancestors. All that hard work defending their cave from saber tooth tigers, just so their descendants could adopt a miniature version of their enemy and make it an official part of the family. Disgraceful.
4. Including your pet in Christmas cards and emails
This feels like you’re deliberately trying to confuse me. When I get a card signed “Susan, Peter, and Mo,” I’m forced into an awkward calculation of whether I should congratulate you on Mo’s birth or whether Mo is just some interspecies interloper. If Mo is an animal, then why did you sign his or her name? You are aware that Mo’s brain will never be able to process written language, aren’t you? Or is Mo your newborn baby? I still have no idea.
5. Giving your pet anti-depressants
Did you know that there’s a version of Prozac for cats and dogs? That’s a fact. With all the war, suffering, and disease in the world, I’m glad this is where we’ve focused our medical resources. After all, think about the tough lives that pets lead. Every day, they have to… wake up and eat. That’s literally it. It’s possible that you got the Woody Allen of the litter, but I’m still skeptical of his psychiatric needs.
What’s really at stake here is the value of being human. If we let any old Prozac-popping, tutu-wearing ferret sign a birthday card and talk on the phone, what’s next? It’s a slippery slope, people. After all, if you give a mouse a cookie...
This program aired on March 22, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.
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