Paws for thought

April 26, 2011 § 8 Comments

I started writing a post about my idyllic sunny weekend spent up in the Herefordshire countryside, the urchins running around naked under sprinklers, me with my feet up enjoying my MIL’s home cooked food. But no, smug off, I thought, upon re-reading. Instead I’m going to have a small rant. About attitudes towards female pet owners. In fact attitudes towards female pet owners who also happen to have small children. In fact attitudes towards female pet owners who also happen to have small children and are pregnant. They stink.

A small example. Yesterday I walked to the local garden centre with the dog, plus 1yo and 3yo. The garden centre owner asked if he could give Doris dog a biscuit. “Of course” I replied. Then “Sit, Doris.” She obediently sits. “Paw!” I then say, wanting to show off the new dog tricks we have been working on. “Oh no,” says the garden centre owner, struggling to control his sneer, looking down at me over the top of his glasses. “She doesn’t have to beg for it.” He dishes out the biccy, turns his shoulder and walks off. OK, this may sound like a very small and insignificant exchange. But to me the slight was obvious, and I can’t imagine this man being quite so disparaging and dismissive of a male dog owner who was trying to show off his dog’s skills. OH agrees with me. He has never experienced any sneeriness or questioning of his ability to look after our pets. But I have, quite a lot.

Another time, heavily pregnant, and with a toddler in tow, I took one of my rescue cats to the vets to have its vaccinations renewed. OK, I had missed the booster appointment, and had to start again with the vacs. But the cat was there, clearly a well groomed and healthy specimen. And no longer languishing in a stinking rescue centre cage somewhere in darkest Lewisham, unwanted and unloved. The vet enquired as to the wellbeing of my other cat, took a pointed look at my child and at my belly, and said “were you quite prepared for the ownership of two cats, madam?” WHAT?! As a lifelong cat owner (my two elderly cats having died the year before) I was affronted to say the least. I love my cats. I feed them. I give them access to the garden. I deflea them and groom them. But at the end of the day they are just bloody cats. What the hell does it have to do with being a mother? Cats get out of the way if children decide to chase them. Cats are pretty good at looking after themselves.

I could go on. About the time I took Doris dog in to see a (different) vet and the grilling I was given for no apparent reason. OH has experienced nothing but banter and good nature from these same vets. It seems that whilst women are considered reliable child rearers, we are not given any credit for knowing how to handle animals. It is very frustrating. You could even say purrplexing. If you wanted to.

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§ 8 Responses to Paws for thought

  • Circus Queen says:

    I would have thought that mothers would be expected to be the better pet owners since they tend to do the lion share of childcare and are therefore experts at nurturing while multitasking! I’m getting two kittens in a week and a half – two weeks before my baby’s due. It’ll be interesting to see what vets think of that!

  • Please poke them in the eye if they are condescending. Wish I had. Pics of the kittens please!

  • pamperedmummy says:

    I know what you mean. We have a German Shepherd and she is super protective of the kids and when out walking she wines and pulls etc. to start off then settles down. The looks I get from people are terrible like she is going to savage them, obviously we’d not have her if she was that aggressive around the children! Some people really don’t think do they?

    • I get exactly the same thing when out walking Doris with the kids. In fact she tends to polarise opinion. I either get squeals of delight or total panic. 3yo has actually picked up my mantra ‘don’t worry, she’s very soft’ and repeats it to every stranger we meet, bless his cottons.

  • tamsyn says:

    very purrrplexing indeed! i am no one to talk, i actually accidentally ‘will-killed’ one of our 4 chickens last week. i had been going on and on the day before about how i was going to ‘kill the effing chickens’ their behaviour was out of control i might add, then the next day, one of them dropped dead!! the kids still blame me…the jury’s out…

    i say b******s to the ignorant individuals who sneer in your general direction, they have no clue about you or your life, so i’d cage them up and drop ’em in the ocean..ok, maybe that’s a little extreme, but big fat forget about them all the same!

    love tamsyn xx

  • I'm So Fancy says:

    purrplexing. You kill me.

  • Sarcasm Fancy? I never can avoid a good (well bad) pun, sadly for everyone else

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