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By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer’s best of weather
And autumn’s best of cheer.

Helen Hunt Jackson - September
The breezes taste
Of apple peel.
The air is full
Of smells to feel-
Ripe fruit, old footballs,
Burning brush,
New books, erasers,
Chalk, and such.
The bee, his hive,
Well-honeyed hum,
And Mother cuts
Chrysanthemums.
Like plates washed clean
With suds, the days
Are polished with
A morning haze.

John Updike, September
Learn English in September

Monday Night Owls - 14 October 2019 - Couples who treat their pets like children

NatashaTNatashaT Posts: 1,231 Teacher
We read an article about a trend which is increasing - couples who choose to have pets instead of children:

https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20190826-the-child-free-couples-who-treat-their-pets-like-children


Vocabulary Top 10:

lap - the area between the knees and the hips of a person who is sitting down

staunchly - very devoted or loyal to a person, belief, or cause

vocal - expressing opinions in a public and forceful way

redefining - defining again or differently

get into - to become involved in (an activity)

confide - to tell (something that is secret or private) to someone you trust

debunk - to show that something (such as a belief or theory) is not true : to show the falseness of (a story, idea, statement, etc.)

contentious - likely to cause people to argue or disagree

turn the corner - to get past the most difficult area or period in something and begin to improve

toll - a serious, bad effect on someone or something; harm or damage


Is this trend happening in your country?
Why do you think couples are deciding to have pets instead of children?

@taghried @Manar @Shiny03 @Monik @VictorJosé @Diakha @aza @MarkRavenhoodie

Comments

  • VictorJoséVictorJosé Posts: 60 ✭✭
    Nowadays it's commonly seeing the child-free couples here in Brazil, more than this, we´ve seen a lot of couples turn around their pets in the shopping mall and parks.
    Firstly, I´d like to think that children are blessed by the Lord to us and they are the biggest responsibility of the couple.
    I understand we must respect the opinions and it is a contentious topic, but if you just worry about what kind of World we will be left to them, or if we will enough money to pay their studies, or if we will be here to educate and to protect them ever, whatever if you think a lot more than feeling, more than listening to your heart... You won´t have children.
    In spite of it is perfectly possible to maintain a family composed of both pets and children, by the way, both of then have a lot of love to give you and give each other.
  • filauziofilauzio Genoa ( Italy )Posts: 2,053 ✭✭✭✭✭
    It does hurt me to say it, really, but I have to give vent to my frustration, which got exacerbated while reading the article, once and for all.

    Keeping pets as children has simply to do with insanity.

    There's no excuse to put forth, to give reason for it, be it financial, or ethical, or emotional, not at all; you just have to admit it, you've got a mental impairment.

    You pretend you don't have enough money to grow a child: ok.

    Unfortunately, though, you care of your dog or cat much more than you'd do with a child: you pamper and treat them to whatever luxurious items and treatments the artful pet industry has come up with.

    You have got even the opportunity to buy pet cosmetics, other than warm coats and waterproof jackets purposely supplied to meet all needs of our furry babies.

    What about the pets' health spa ? Ugh.. yes my friends, they provide it too: you can walk your dog there to have a relaxing bath and sauna, followed by a complete massage.

    You don't want your furry child to skip the face-mask, do you ? Here you are, it's included in the all-inclusive beauty treatment package... sigh.

    You pretend you have ethical reasons too, not to rise a child: the world is already too overcrowded so as not to need a further unasked-for child of your own: ok.

    Then, you don't limit yourself to the indeed ethical action of picking up your dog among the lonely, suffering, caged ones which fill the municipal kennels.

    Those are the would-be pets which pass day after day whining desperate for a family and a loving, caring, selfless owner.

    However, you would rather search for a cute puppy, which would turn out the most photogenic in your selfies too.

    This way you encourage the thriving breeding industry of just the exclusive dogs' breeds of choice, which, possibly, can be different with the diverse inclinations and preferences of any enthusiastic pets' parents.

    It can be you would avoid overcrowding the planet with children, this way, but you'll most likely replace them with a like number of four-legged ones.

    Finally, you pretend having a child is too emotionally involving a task, not worth it and likely to prevent you from pursuing either a successful career or enjoyable holidays.

    Ok, I can understand the point.

    Nevertheless, I seem to spot people walking their dogs at any hours of the day and the night, whatever the weather overhead, a plastic bottle of water in one hand ( to wash off or dilute the pee ), the leash end in the other, the waste-bags at their waist belt.

    But yes, you're still right: that isn't an emotional involvement, not really so, it's rather going deep into a stubborn enslavement.

    The problem, in my opinion, is that people who want to be parents to a pet rather than to a child, suffer from an impairment to love.

    They just need an unconditional love, the kind which just a pet can guarantee to them, whether you return it to them or not, according to your whims and engagement's level you choose to put into it.

    The love among humans, I'm afraid, is a completely different kind of: to be mutual, it needs constant involvement from both sides, sacrifice, the ability to abstract completely from yourself to devote entirely to others... not just the time or so of a dog's walk.

    It's a huge task, I'm aware: that's why you can feel much more comfortable buying your own furry, reassuringly undemanding, relievingly tail-wagging one.


    glad to stop strict diet, splashed in belly flop? Don't care you're not light, here on English hop !
  • TeachTeach Your Teacher HomePosts: 10,479 mod
    @VictorJosé - Here is your correction:-

    Nowadays it's common to see child-free couples here in Brazil, more than this, you can see a lot more couples turn around walking their pets in the shopping malls and parks.

    Firstly, I´d like to think that children are a blessing to us, after all they are the biggest responsibility for any couple. I understand we must respect the opinions of others, and it is a contentious topic. The fact is, if you only worry about what kind of world we will leave to them, whether we will have enough money to pay for their studies, or if we will be here to educate and to protect them forever. If you think more than feel: more than listening to your heart... you won´t have children.

    In spite of that, it is perfectly possible to maintain a family composed of pets and children. Both of them have a lot of love to give you and each other.
  • TeachTeach Your Teacher HomePosts: 10,479 mod
    @filauzio - Here is your correction:-

    It hurts me to say it, really, but I have to give vent to my frustration, which was exacerbated while reading the article.

    Keeping pets as children is simply insane.

    There's no excuse for it, be it financial, or ethical, or emotional, none at all; you just have to admit it, you've got a mental impediment.

    You pretend you don't have enough money to raise a child: ok.

    Unfortunately, though, you care for your dog or cat much more than you would a child: you pamper and treat them to whatever luxurious items and treatments the artful pet industry has come up with: you even have the opportunity to buy pet cosmetics, warm coats and waterproof jackets purposely supplied to meet all the needs of our furry babies.

    What about pet health spas? Ugh.. yes my friends, they provide that too: you can walk your dog there to have a relaxing bath and sauna, followed by a full massage.

    You don't want your furry child to skip the face-mask, do you ? Here you are, it's included in the all-inclusive beauty treatment package... sigh.

    You pretend you have ethical reasons, not to raise a child: the world is already too overcrowded, so there is no need for any further unasked-for children of your own: ok.

    Then, why don't you limit yourself to the more ethical action of picking your dog among the lonely, suffering, caged ones which fill the municipal kennels.

    Those are the would-be pets which pass day after day whining desperate for a family and a loving, caring, selfless owner. However, you seem to prefer searching for a cute puppy, which will be the most photogenic in your selfies too.

    The way you encourage the thriving breeding industry for just the exclusive dog breed of choice, which, possibly, can be different with the diverse inclinations and preferences of any enthusiastic pet parents.

    It could be that you want to avoid overcrowding the planet with children this way, but you'll most likely replace them with a like number of four-legged ones.

    Finally, you pretend having a child is too emotionally involving a task, not worth it and likely to prevent you from pursuing either a successful career or enjoyable holidays.

    Ok, I can understand the point.

    Nevertheless, I seem to spot people walking their dogs at all hours of the day and night, whatever the weather, a plastic bottle of water in one hand ( to wash off or dilute the pee ), the leash in the other, the waste-bags at their waist belt.

    But yes, you're still right: that isn't the same emotional involvement, not really, it's rather going deep into a stubborn enslavement.

    The problem, in my opinion, is that people who want to be parents to a pet rather than to a child, suffer from an impairment to love.

    They just need unconditional love, the kind which only a pet can guarantee to them, whether you return it to them or not, according to your whims and the engagement level you choose to put in.

    Love among humans, I'm afraid, is a completely different kind: to be mutual, it needs constant involvement from both sides, sacrifice, the ability to abstract completely from yourself to devote entirely to others... not just the time it takes to walk the dog.

    It's a huge task, I'm aware: that's why you can feel much more comfortable buying your own furry, reassuringly undemanding, relievingly tail-wagging one.
  • VictorJoséVictorJosé Posts: 60 ✭✭
    Thanks, @Teach for your attention and dedication with us!
  • filauziofilauzio Genoa ( Italy )Posts: 2,053 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Thank you so much @Teach, it was high time I took an humility bath and hit back the books, I enjoyed it !
    glad to stop strict diet, splashed in belly flop? Don't care you're not light, here on English hop !
  • HermineHermine Posts: 8,904 ✭✭✭✭
    That is a real interesting topic.

    When I bike along the river side I often see a lot of people having a trailer put on their bikes where there are dogs in it. Yes, I see more dogs then children.

    At my last tour there I saw a woman walking a pram with two dogs in it.
    Isn‘t that crazy?


  • mheredgemheredge Posts: 44,788 ✭✭✭✭
    @filauzio I think sometimes it can be a lot more complicated than it seems. Couples I know who arguably keep animals rather than children cannot always have kids, so the pet becomes a substitute for their love and attention. Also, those couples that consciously decide not to have children usually have valid reasons, that I think society can be too swift to reject or ignore. So if they have pets instead, I don't feel they necessarily should be criticised.

    I have a friend who doesn't want to have children and is fed up by how people are so judgemental about her reasons, that I personally respect. She feels that there are more than enough people on the planet, and also is concerned about the state of the world that she would be bringing up a child to live in. I don't believe that it should be seen as a duty to procreate and don't believe anyone should be condoned for not wanting kids. However if they have a pet instead, what is wrong with that? They can still lavish love and attention on something, but at least with an animal is is a lot cheaper and easier.

    And certainly a dog or a cat is a lot easier than bringing up a child!

    @Hermine how old was this woman? Maybe she already had children who were no longer at home. So what is wrong with wanting pets to take care of when the kids have flown the nest?
  • HermineHermine Posts: 8,904 ✭✭✭✭
    @mheredge, here in my area it is increasing having a dog. Some of them are really nasty and don‘t obey their masters. Couples who get divorced put their once believed dog away, because no-one has time for it anymore.

    Now in time of corona people bought dogs for the reason of being allowed to get out.
    Lots of the dogs are fat have a torso you can‘t span your arm around it. They do as if it were a human.

    Ask a person from Afrika no-one of them would allow the dog to get into their houses let alone in their beds.

    I know some need really a good friend in trust, but for some they keep it because it is stylish.
  • filauziofilauzio Genoa ( Italy )Posts: 2,053 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I'm afraid, @mheredge, that many people spend for their dogs as much money as they would probably do with their child, were they having one.

    They are fed processed, elaborated food based on beef and poultry meat, instead of leftovers which would sound fitter; that fact seems to me already a bit unethical.

    They are occasionally subjected to vaccination injections and regular medical and antibiotic treatment by vets.

    They are dressed with water-proof or warm vests; some business-people also came up with rather bizarre ideas: four-legged-targeted beauty parlours, paw's nails-polish shops, dogs' socializing clubs, canines whitening dentist's room.

    The sky's the limit to whatever else more aberrant a human mind can think further on to please our furry friends.

    I don't believe it all has to do with our push to show genuine love and dedication to our substitutes of children. I rather think it has to do with the absurd vanity of a master, who likes to walk their chihuahua with brand-new long eyelashes.

    I think it has more to do with craziness than with any possible justification to keep a dog, cat or whatever animals you like to spend your days with.

    I agree with @Hermine, that for some people keeping a dog is just a fashion. But I think those who crave a dog to show around are the majority and not just a small minority.

    I don't really think that by keeping a dog withing the four walls of your home you are pouring affection and love on the animal. You are forcing it to a human life which stretches its real nature and instinct.

    You are yoking Mother Earth into satisfying your whims to turn a wild animal into a furry cuddly toy.

    Your dogs aren't consciously waggling their tails at you out of thankful happiness. They do so because they have been hybridized, by generations of breeders, to do so.

    Nevertheless, I acknowledge that, in a minority of cases, people have a more serious reason to keep a pet, to relieve their mind, maybe, of some insurmontable problems they face. I'm thinking of infertile couples, families with disabled people, people who have seriously ill or depressed relative to manage, people who suffered recent losses within their family and other like cases.
    glad to stop strict diet, splashed in belly flop? Don't care you're not light, here on English hop !
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