OK, no, they are not, but to many people, they are family and, in many cases, regarded in higher esteem than their human friends and family.

Most pets are treated like family, and if someone were to come to visit a friend with a pet and say, “I’m allergic to dogs,” the pet owner would usually reply with, “Sorry to hear that. Would you like a Benadryl?” In other words, the pet stays, but you can sit outside if you feel more comfortable.

Visitors, whether friends or family, need to understand and realize the pets live in the owner’s house 100% of the time. It is their home. Would someone like it if a visitor at their home stated they don’t like children, so please lock them up in a room? The parents of the children would be flabbergasted and would not accommodate the visitors’ request. At least I wouldn’t, and I feel the same about my pets. If you don’t like or want to be with my pets, then don’t visit me. It’s a package deal. They go where I go. They live where I live.

I was once in love with an absolutely beautiful woman, way beyond my pay grade. She was a professional model and stunning. When I brought her to my home for the first time, she was surprised that I had two dogs and told me that under no uncertain terms would she spend time in a home with animals that run in the yard and step in feces. My choice was her or my pets. I wonder what happened to her?

I understand the difference between a human being and an animal. Animals love unconditionally, whereas human beings have to bargain with one another for love to get what they want. Maybe I love animals so much because the only time they have ever broken my heart is when they’ve crossed over the rainbow bridge. I cannot say that about most humans I have ever met. In some cases, they did not break my heart, but they intentionally tried to hurt or harm me.

Many people take pleasure in bullying others. The dogs I have shared my life with have never bullied me. They were loyal and obedient, never asked questions, never told on me, and always missed me, even if I was just walking to the mailbox. 

Most animals behave the same for their owners unless they are mistreated. Why would anyone hurt an animal that treats you better than another human being? 

Many pet lovers have told me that the grief they experienced when they lost their pet was more significant than the sorrow they felt when their parents, friends, or spouse passed away. That’s a pretty strong statement demonstrating how much we love our pets.

Unfortunately, animals are still considered property purchased or adopted for a fee. They have so few rights and need the protection of their owners. Domesticated pets rely on their owners for everything; food, water, shelter, medical care, and love are the top five. Exercise is also another thing dogs rely on, and thanks to the new Daytona Dog Beach, a 0.6-mile stretch of beach between Milsap Road and Rockefeller Drive at Andy Romano Beachfront Park, dogs can romp and run on the beach again after a 36-year hiatus. The dog beach opened on Nov. 1.

I just read performing artist Billy Joel adopted a French Bulldog with health issues. Billy is worth millions and could have easily purchased 100 French Bulldogs from a breeder, but instead, he decided to give a homeless animal in need of help a forever home.

In the Ormond Beach area, the Lohmans, also millionaires, have adopted several animals from shelters. They, too, could have paid a breeder thousands without blinking an eye, but instead chose to adopt and give their love to a homeless animal.

You don’t have to be a millionaire to adopt any animal; just a heart in need of the love of a trusted and devoted pet. Please adopt, don’t shop.

Barry KuKes is the former Community Outreach Director of Halifax Humane Society. Email him at [email protected]. View more of his work at minicooperproductions.com.


By admin