Companion animals, sometimes called pets, can incur great expenses. No, not the kind the owner runs up at the pet store or the veterinarian’s office. The cost is personal. It comes when animals are bred to the point of suffering from painful, distressing, or disabling physical or emotional handicaps. It results from the surgical mutilation of them simply because their owner wants to make a statement or because of convenience.
We have bred into many animals genetic disorders, including heart and hip problems. Some animals’ faces are so pushed in they have trouble breathing, especially in warm weather. Some have eyes so far apart they have trouble focusing; others lose their sight entirely and often at a young age. The “natural” companion animal is hard to find today.
Companion animals have evolved into a sort of social support system for many owners. In so doing, we have pressured these animals to change who they are and what they look like to fit our preconceived notions of what constitutes a companion animal. This pressure has often been detrimental to the animals’ welfare. When you think about it…the cost of being a “pet” can sometimes be extraordinarily high, so high that it costs them their lives.