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Love our pets?

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The debate about animial vs humans in rights, value & communication got me thinking about this matter. Forgive me if this is the wrong forum to put this post in.

Obviously animals' lives have a different value than humans' lives.

So is it rational to "love" your pets as more than a possession?

I "love" my vintage guitars but do not feeling personal one on one affection for them the way I do my dogs.

I also value my animals lives more than some human lives- I will spend hundreds of dollars on my pets health and well being but don't give money to beggars.

So my question to other Objectivists is this:

Can you really claim to see your pets only as another valued piece of chattel?

If you can't make that claim then is it not irrational to "love" a thing not capable of reason itself?

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My dog is not an inanimate object. It gives me as much affection as I give it. I am it's master and I'm pretty sure that it would do its best to protect me if it came to that. Do I love it more than my favorite sofa, sure but not more than I believe I should.

For example I received a sticker in the mail from our vet, my wife showed it to me. Apparently this thing is supposed to be stuck on the front window and it says "In case of fire I have "x" number of Pets please save them." I told my wife that I would not put the sticker up because no matter how much Tinker (the cat) and Muggles (our dog) mean to me I would not ask a human being to place themselves in danger for their sake.

Do I love my Dog and cat the same way I love my wife, of course not. Think about the expression of "love" for a pet as shorthand for "care for a great deal".

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""In case of fire I have "x" number of Pets please save them." I told my wife that I would not put the sticker up because no matter how much Tinker (the cat) and Muggles (our dog) mean to me I would not ask a human being to place themselves in danger for their sake"

I'd never thought of it that way. I'd considered it rational to let firemen know the pets were in there via sign- in case it was a non life threatening situation (one in which you would feel it safe to get the pets out yourself but perhaps the fire occurs when you're not home) but that no fireman would risk his life to save the animal.

I'd be interested in other takes on this issue as a side bar to the initial post query.

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The sign said... "In case of fire"... How can you take that to mean anything other than, well... In case of fire?

I'm not sure I get where we don't understand each other? Where did I say I took that to mean anything other than in case of fire?

I'm going under the theory that not all situations in which there is a fire are going to be life threatening immmediately. (I've been in a couple apartment buildings where there have been fires some bigger-some smaller).

In a case where the fire itself probably wouldn't kill a pet the very act of putting the fire out could feasibly injure or kill a pet not to mention the possibilty of it breaking loose and becoming lost or in the case of a larger/watch dog an unaware fireman could be attacked.

To me it is reasonable in case of fire to put out there that pets are inside.. and go with the assumption that a firefighter is smart enough to not kill themselves over a cat.

Edited by QuoVadis
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I told my wife that I would not put the sticker up because no matter how much Tinker (the cat) and Muggles (our dog) mean to me I would not ask a human being to place themselves in danger for their sake.

Just an FYI from a firefighter's daughter, no firefighter is gonna risk his life for your pet; however, if they know there are pets in the home, they will keep an eye out for them and perform CPR, administer oxygen, etc., in a reasonable attempt to save them. Many times, the firefighters end up in the house while fighting the fire anyway, so if they can safely get your pet, they will. Firefighters know how hard it is for someone to lose everything in a fire. It makes them feel good to save as much as they can for you, including your pet.

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So is it rational to "love" your pets as more than a possession?

I "love" my vintage guitars but do not feeling personal one on one affection for them the way I do my dogs.

There are two important differences between pets and objects:

1) Pets have feelings for you. They react to you in a number of ways that inanimate objects cannot match.

2) Objects can often be replaced with a reasonably accurate substitute, while each pet is very different from every other. Once your dog dies she's gone forever. You may get a similar dog, but you won't get an identical one with the same quirks and personality.

So my question to other Objectivists is this:

Can you really claim to see your pets only as another valued piece of chattel?

No, because they are more than that.

If you can't make that claim then is it not irrational to "love" a thing not capable of reason itself?

No. A pet has feelings which correspond to the affection their owners give them.

That said, look around and you'll find dogs seem more affectionate to people who feed them often.

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I think you hit it on the head in a lot of ways D'kian.

I'm now working from 9am until midnite or later with only Sundays off.

Ever since my spouse took over feeding the dogs they have an obvious air of disdain for me and my commands :twisted:

As a consequence I find myself not liking them quite as much. :(

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The sign said... "In case of fire"... How can you take that to mean anything other than, well... In case of fire?

Not all fires are equally dangerous. In some cases the firemen would not be exposing themselves to any additional danger by taking into consideration the removal of pets OR the presence of pets that may pose a hazard to them should they be required to make entry.

I have no problem with the sign as I expect most firemen are intelligent enough to realize when rescuing the pet is reasonably safe for them and when it is not. The sign is not a commandment, it's informational and a request.

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"I have X pets. If you can do it safely, please save them!" would be a much better sign.

The ones I've seen are very easy to read and just say "Pets Inside" and there are boxes to check next to the list of pets you may own. I think it's obvious they should save them if it's safe. :confused:

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I'm now working from 9am until midnite or later with only Sundays off.

Ever since my spouse took over feeding the dogs they have an obvious air of disdain for me and my commands :confused:

That could also involve dominance issues. If you do not assert yourself as superior to the dog, it won't respect you much.

The two tings dogs love more than anything else are going for a walk and eating. You get them to associate you with either, they'll love you unconditionally. Dogs will take food from anyone, even people they don't like. They'll aslo gladly follow anyone who's carrying their leash.

BTW in the matter of caring too much about pets... Michael Vick got a longer sentence for dog fighting than Donte Stallworth got for killing a pedestrian while DUI.

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"BTW in the matter of caring too much about pets... Michael Vick got a longer sentence for dog fighting than Donte Stallworth got for killing a pedestrian while DUI."

The pedestrian did however, run out in front of his car while jaywalking.

In most states the "legal limit" is far below what one would call drunk and is more a part of nanny state efforts by mad than anything reasonable.

On the other hand Michael Vick sadistically and brutally killed animals for profit, sadism toawrds animals is a known factor in people who are also likely to be sadistic towards people.

I actually find those rulings fair. Michael Vick got out way, way too soon.

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The pedestrian did however, run out in front of his car while jaywalking.

I've heard that.

In most states the "legal limit" is far below what one would call drunk and is more a part of nanny state efforts by mad than anything reasonable.

I don't think so. Even a little alcohol can inpair your driving skills. The one time I drove after drinking I realized that and ahve never done so again. I do take DUI seriously.

On the other hand Michael Vick sadistically and brutally killed animals for profit, sadism toawrds animals is a known factor in people who are also likely to be sadistic towards people.

Maybe so, but as far as anyone knows Mr. Vick never hurt any people.

I actually find those rulings fair. Michael Vick got out way, way too soon.

Emotionally I'd agree. In fact, I'd like to see him suffer some more. Rationally, however, dogs are animals and thus property, and a man can do what he wants with his property as long as he doesn't infringe on the rights of other people. So rationally there is no basis to even fine him. there is basis to ban him from the NFL, though, and I hope he stays banned.

It's the same principle as bullfighting. It's a barbaric spectacle where innocent bulls are riled up and then tortured to death. It's deplorable and the people who enjoy it are morally suspect. But it shoulnd't be illegal, much as it pains me to say it.

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I think I understand you there but still disagree based on this premise:

It is rational and desirable to keep to mentally deranged out of society.

No one prosecutes a someone for killing their animal reasonably to keep it from suffering.

It has rationally been decided that people who torture animals are unsafe to other humans as well and should be prosecuted.

Just as a man may own his home but he will be prosecuted if he burns it down.

There is enough just and rational cause to believe these illegal activities are harmful.

..not to mention that while we may believe gambling should not be illegal the fact is he was running an illegal gambling ring out of his house. This brought criminal elements into the community in which he lived. He hired and paid others to help him-this is criminal solicitation.

For these reasons I believe the sentence was rational, not emotional.

one other thing...

don't you think in a rational society if someone gets hit by a car while jaywalking (assuming driver is not under the influence) the driver should be able to sue the pedestrian for loss of time, mental distress and damages to car? :confused:

Sorry, in Portland Oregon where I live jaywalking is epidemic. I have a real problem with it... despite the fact I do not drive.

The police are discouraged from enforcing any rules on bikers or pedestrians and it drives me crazy.

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It is rational and desirable to keep to mentally deranged out of society.

No one prosecutes a someone for killing their animal reasonably to keep it from suffering.

It has rationally been decided that people who torture animals are unsafe to other humans as well and should be prosecuted.

It's not rational to pre-emptively punish someone for what he may do in the future. In cases of insane or deranged people who have hurt or killed someone, ther ecan be exceptions. But it's not rational to incarcerate someone for killing animals of his property, no matter how sadistic he is about it.

Just as a man may own his home but he will be prosecuted if he burns it down.

There's a big differnce there. Even if the arson wasn't to defraud insurance (a crime), and even if no one inside the home gets hurt, a burning house poses a threat to other houses and buildings nearby. And if your home happens to be in an apartment building, well....

don't you think in a rational society if someone gets hit by a car while jaywalking (assuming driver is not under the influence) the driver should be able to sue the pedestrian for loss of time, mental distress and damages to car? :confused:

Yes. Assuming the driver wasn't DUI at the time.

Look, in Mexico City more people are run over by vehicles than in the rest of the country. Partly that's due to a lack of safe pedestrian crossings, but also largely because pedestrians ignore such crossings as do exist and tend to ignore traffic lights as well. Police don't issue tickets to epdestrians, either. You ahve to be careful when driving, too, because 11 times out of ten if you run someone over you'll get blamed even if the pedestrian was clearly at fault.

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