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A while back while having a pets talk with the lovely lady at mybeautifulthings, I remembered something I had been told about the new incentive to have pets, for some of the folks in England.

As we all know, times are hard. For some luckier ones in some parts of the world, their government will dish out a few bucks. Call them benefits. Apparently, since animals are our fellow creations and we’ve got to treat them good too, if one has got a pet, say a dog, one is given benefits for that dog too. Which makes sense. If you’ve got none to very little income and own a dog, you can’t be asked to let your dog starve.

Now, that may be taken as a given by most but I have to tell you, I was rather surprised. I’m not saying we should torture animals but given the choice between giving some money out to have a dog fed and giving some more money to humans to buy some more food or meds, I’d give it to the humans. Yes, I value human life more than I value animal life. I’m sure that’s easier to say here where I live because I know for sure no one is going to be sending me animal rights hate mail claiming I’m anti-animal rights. Truth be told, I don’t think anyone should be lashed out at for stating the same. If I was given a choice between saving a person and saving an animal I know I’d save the person.

I should state that the vein this post is taking is not what I had set out for it. I should also confess, I’ve never completely understood the western world’s fascination with pets. I find it a little extreme in some instances. That one should buy a dog just so they can dress it up in actual clothes and move about with it on their arm flabbergasts me. But hey, don’t lash out, that’s just me. We go, get these animals out of their natural habitats, set them up in our homes, then start dishing out some filial love. I have nothing against it. Yes, I know people do get attached to these animals, they make them members of their families, and love them like one. I see how that can happen. Actually, sometimes I don’t. At such times, I only see it happening in a situation where one is marooned on an island and in lack of human contact. At other times I see how it happens. You/a member of your family loves a dog/cat, so you go, get yourselves one or more and start looking after it, then you bond with this pet, and it soon becomes a part of your life. I mean, if I can be so attached to an inanimate object like my phone or tablet, whyever should someone not be able to get attached to a breathing, interacting, emoting, warm-blooded animal, right? When I think that way, I can understand the whole pets culture. I’m just not part of it.

Some people here have pets too. Just not that many. And the only thing you’ll ever find inside someone’s house is a cat. Dogs always have kennels OUTSIDE the house. And most are kept for their security benefit. Dog food? Thing for the rich. Dogs will eat some of what everyone else has had as leftovers, or have some posho and beef/fish made for them. And no one sees it as animal torture. People can’t even buy their kids food, they are not going to go and start buying some fancy imported dog food, and I assure you, none is manufactured here. I see it in the supermarkets. I’m sure it’s mostly bought by expatriates and some very rich folks.

Now, back to my post’s originally intended discussion. Apparently, some folks in England go and get themselves a dog/dogs just so they can ‘earn’ the extra cash that comes in form of financial benefits from the government for people with pets. So you may have a homeless person or someone in a certain not so ideal situation owning pets they originally wouldn’t have just for the extra cash. Man’s best friend, indeed. I was amazed to hear this, and wasn’t so quick to believe it, but as we walked about in some less well-to-do neighbourhoods the sight of ragged-looking people with dogs grew more frequent. A few days later watching the BBC, I heard the chancellor of the exchequer discuss the new benefits cuts and I wondered if there were still benefits for pets.

PS. This writer has nothing against animals or treating them with extravagance, understands that you may have a pet that you love as you would a friend or member of family, and that you may even prefer your dog’s/cat’s/pet’s company to some human being’s. She’s absolutely fine with it.

PPS. Since writing this and hearing from the first commenter below, I’ve done a bit of web searching and found that apparently the whole pets benefits thing is a popular urban myth. Well, well.