Is That Really What You Want?
“If my dog isn’t welcome, then I’m not going.”
That was the topic sentence of a post I read recently on social media. Then the post went on to extol their dog’s virtues in great detail. I’m all for loving our pets, but this statement annoyed me like a mosquito in the ear. Let me be clear: this was not about a service dog. This was specifically about their pet.
The statement is narcissistic, selfish and indicates an immature logic center. Here are some reasons the statement might grate on your nerves:
1. It Isn’t Practical
Let’s just throw in some practical and life examples of how this mindset doesn’t work in the real world. What if you are invited to a funeral? Or a wedding that specifies no pets? How about your workplace? Are you going to quit your job if they don’t welcome your pet with open arms?
Again, I’m not talking about service dogs; that is a whole different story. I’m talking about the average, run-of-the-mill pets. Obviously, there are many situations where your dog may not be welcome.
2. It’s Rude
Oh yes, I said it. It is rude. If I am invited over to a friend or family member’s house, I don’t dictate their rules. They have extended hospitality to me, so I try and be considerate of what they are comfortable with. Isn’t the point to spend time with people? No offense, but who cares about your dog in that situation?
3. It’s Narcissistic
Yes, I’m naming names and taking no prisoners here. Guess what, pet owner? It isn’t all about you. If I invite you over to my house, yes, I want to spend time with you. But I also know my house better than you do. Your dog may not be invited for a variety of reasons. Maybe my own pets will be adversely affected by your dog’s presence. Maybe I have a child that is afraid of dogs. Maybe there is someone in my house allergic to pet dander. Maybe you could poke your nose outside your narcissistic little bubble and realize that others besides you and your pet exist in the world, and they are worth spending time with.
4. It’s Offensive
So, if I don’t invite your dog, you are really going to not spend time with me? Let’s say I invite you to dinner and I spend time and money cooking, cleaning, and planning an evening. When getting together, one of the goals is to form stronger bonds with friends and family. Basically, what I hear when I read, “if my dog isn’t welcome, then I’m not going,” is that you place higher respect on your pet than in an in-person relationship with me. This indicates priorities that result in missed opportunities and broken relationships with friends and loved ones.
5. It’s Abusive
Mentally, that is. When those words are read, it gives off a negative vibe. I’m not as good as your dog. I’m not as worthy of consideration as your pet. It is placing an ultimatum on a relationship. “Do X, or I won’t love/like you.” That is emotional manipulation at the very least and abuse at the worst.
6. It Removes Choice
For an era when there is so much noise about personal choice and rights, it surprises me to even see the statement listed above. It removes the right of the homeowner to choose what is or is not allowed in their house. It undermines the homeowner’s authority over their own property (whether leased or owned).
7. It’s Immature
I have raised seven children. I know what a toddler-style tantrum looks like. This is all about the pet owner getting their way and being unwilling to submit to the other person’s preferences and needs. There is nothing attractive about this attitude.
8. It Creates Assumptions
I can’t speak for everyone, but let me be absolutely clear: If I invite you over to my house, it is because I want to spend time with you. I have nothing against your pet, but your pet belongs in your domain. If you ask to bring your pet and I say “No,” don’t take it personally. I have my own pets that would be uncomfortable with unfamiliar animals. It is my right, as a homeowner and pet owner, to decide what is best for my house and family. It isn’t personal. Your pet may be absolutely lovely and darling, but that doesn’t mean it has to be welcomed to my home in order to be graced with your presence. Don’t assume I hate your pet because I don’t want it in my house.
So, if you are really sincere about “if my pet isn’t welcome, then I won’t go” as a philosophy, let me assure you: you won’t have to worry about it with me. If you place your pet’s status over a relationship with me, then you won’t have the chance to refuse any invitations. You won’t be getting any.