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.