Saturday, February 11, 2012

Petiquette (Pet Etiquette, Clever Right?)

Yeah, it's another etiquette post. We should just make this an etiquette blog at this point, right?

I've done 73 posts on this blog since it's beginnings. And I'm going to be honest, I've had this idea in mind for awhile, but pets are a sensitive topic so it's taken me awhile to decide that this was a topic to tackle.

With that in mind, I have a confession.

I don't like pets. I'm not an animal person, at all. Some people aren't pet people because they didn't grow up with pets, and they had a lack of exposure to pets. This isn't the case with me. We always had a pet of some sort, and I'm here to tell you that it is possible for a kid to have a dog for 10+ years and still be afraid of dogs. I'm that kid. I'll admit, I have a soft spot in my heart for 2 cats we had over the years, but it's not super soft.

I do, however, like pet people. Usually (HUGE generalization and stereotype coming), pet people are kind and forgiving and non-judgemental. In another life I aspire to be like pet people. So I really mean no offense here.

I don't think that pet people have to cater to non-pet people, but there are several things you need to know about how non-pet people perceive your pets. This is me being totally honest, so you may choose to ignore what I say and continue some of your pet habits, but just know that they may be others' pet peeves (pun intended).

1. If you have a non-pet person in your home, know that they want nothing to do with your pet. They don't want your pet to sniff them, crawl on them, lick, scratch, or even nuzzle them. They want you to put your pet away. If it's clear that a child is scared of your pet, don't think you're doing them a favor by making them pet your pet. They don't want to, you're not their parent, so don't make them.

2. A non-pet person is never going to tell you that they aren't a pet person. They'll simply just endure and cringe internally while your pet is crawling all over them. You're going to have to use your own judgment in deciding their level of comfort around your pet. Usually, people will mention if they like pets. If they don't mention it, they don't like your pets. Take action accordingly.

3. Don't try to convince a pet person that your pet is really "nice dog" or a "friendly dog" or a "gentle cat." They aren't buying it. If my two year old were screaming and crawling all over someone while drooling, I don't think that I'd stand in a corner and say, "Yeah, he's just getting used to you. He's really a gentle kid." So I really can't understand why pet people think that this behavior is acceptable from their pets, but then again, I don't get it.

4. Q. Do non-pet people think it's weird when pets are in family pictures?
A. Yes.

5. Do non-pet people think dressing pets is weird?
A. Yes.

6. It's really gross to a non-pet person when you kiss your pet. At all. It's even more gross when spit is involved in these kisses. They want to dry heave when they see this.

7. It's VERY inconvenient to ask someone to watch after your pet while you're on vacation without being paid, but it's SUPER inconvenient and uncomfortable to ask a non-pet person. I love the irony in finding your pet too inconvenient to take on vacation, but not finding it too inconvenient to ask other people to watch your pet while you go. My mom was always great at paying the neighbor kids to do this, and I'm fine with that.

8. The neighborhood is not your pet's playground to a non-pet person. Don't just let your pet roam free in the neighborhood. Someone I once was running with (who shall remain nameless), maced a dog that was coming after us; this action, was totally justified to me (the non-pet person). If you don't want this action to happen to your charging pit bull, please keep them locked up.


  1. Great post! You are absolutely right! I am a pet person, but I know lots of people who aren't. We all need good reminders :)

  2. Amen. I am not a pet person and I can totally see all points as important. I see photos of a baby cuddling with a dog or a cat an it makes me want to gag. Soooo dirty. I also outwardly cringe, I can't help it. I'm allergic to basically all animals so I have a fear of being uncontrollably itchy and lose my ability to breathe. My roommate continually talks to me about how she wants a puppy and "Look at this one it's so cute!" Yep. Not for me. When I see pets, I see uncontrollable grime. A bit heartless? I'm over it.

  3. I'd. Like to hear more about the macing a dog story.

  4. I'm not really a pet person either. Alas we have 17 of them.

  5. I'm still laughing, especially about the macing the dog story because that story never gets old and is hilarious.

  6. Animals are disgusting. I love this post.

  7. I'm basically on board with everything you said. However, if my kid is being a sally pants about someones' little wiener dog at little wiener dog's house, and my kid says something along the lines of "make little wiener dog go outside" to the pet-owner, I'd prefer if the pet-owner told them, "sorry, this is little wiener dog's house not yours." and kept the pet inside. Hopefully it would teach my kids a little respect for other peoples things, dogs and houses.

    That being said, the pet owner should still restrain the animal to a point.