Who Needs a Pet?

{Note:  as I replied to one commenter, this post is not at all aimed at legitimate service animals OR thoughtful, considerate pet “owners”}

Now that we live in a Pet-opia where animals are walked, carried or strolled everywhere, my wife and I are appreciating wild things even more.  Especially when the wildlife isn’t being scared off, chased away or killed by the “captured creatures” we call “pets.”

I understand the “companionship” piece, to an extent.  But, in my opinion, our culture is obsessed with and addicted to owning living things.  Of course, there’s a long history of domesticated or tamed beings (“tame” can be traced to Greek for “subdue” or “bring under control”).  It makes sense that we need food provided by many animals.  But there also seems to be an innate need to have things under our control, whether human or non.  They live for us, serve us and we are their “masters.”  Also true:  many people appear to live for their pets, but that’s another story.

In the last few days, we’ve watched a flock of wild turkeys stroll by, spied some deer in the field and heard coyotes and owls at night.  We would normally see a few bears, but it’s hunting season so we’re hoping they’ve found safe shelter.

This morning, outside the windows, we watched chickadees, titmouse, cardinals, doves, crows and a few birds we couldn’t identify, flitting about the bushes and trees.

For a little while, the birds disappeared.  The answer sat on a lower branch … a beautiful neighbor who often soars across the fields: a goshawk or cooper’s hawk.

This time of year, for a few months, we have a couple of seed-feeders out while the bears are hiber-napping (doesn’t that sound pretty good?).  Feathered ones don’t need the seed, but it brings them in closer to view without “subduing” them.

Today, a red-bellied woodpecker has been knocking on everything from the tree to the window sill.  He’s a real clown.  As you see in the photos, he was fearless as I was inches away in the glass.

My wife and I were agreeing once again:  who needs “pets” and “animal companions” when Nature is full of wild living things not under our control.  We find that makes them, and the world, so much more interesting, unpredictable and delightful.

If anything, we are, or should be, under THEIR control … or at least their spell.


Categories: natureTags: , , , , , , ,


  1. My three dogs agree completely with you about the preference for wild things. They are happiest when roaming free in the woods and pastures of the Virginia mountains. They come inside to eat and sleep and then they are out again.

  2. May be it’s because people rely more on animals for unconditional love rather than fellow human beings. |||It’s more for human benefit than animals, especially for singles. My patient told me she could have never survived without her dogs during her long battle of renal failure and transplant. The emotional support from animals is enormous and loss of them can be very traumatizing. But I totally agree with you that wild animals should roam around in the forest rather than inside the cages.

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