Poor things…..

6 Sep

So many puppies and kittens, what is an animal lover to do!

I once knew a dear woman who had a heart of gold.  Her house was a haven to 23 animals, a collection of mostly dogs but also a few cats that had ‘a pee problem’.   

I don’t need to say any more about the condition of her home!

Granted, it IS a good thing that some folks really love animals and are sympathetic to their plight. My heart breaks too, when I hear about abandoned or abused animals.

But before your abode becomes a rescue mission for stray pups, let’s talk about how NOT to decide to shelter another pet.

If you watch any TV, you probably have seen the commercials that display pitiful BUT cute puppies and kittens that need a home.  It’s one thing to give helpful reasons for adopting an animal; it’s another to use the emotional weapon or fallacy called the Appeal to Pity.  

So what’s so wrong with that?  These creatures ARE pitiful.  They DO need a home. Someone NEEDS to take them in, right?

Yes, but what happens is that if pity is the ONLY reason you employ to adopt a pet in crisis, then when YOUR needs are stronger than HIS needs, away goes the puppy.

But if your family has sat down and considered WHY they want to add an animal to the household, you have made a RATIONAL or REASONable decision.  When the puppy or kitten is no longer convenient, there will still be strong reasons FOR continuing to care for this sometimes messy, bothersome animal.

What might be some more ‘legitimate’ reasons for bringing a pet home? How about:

  • Company and a warm body for a lonely adult
  • A way to teach responsibility to kids
  • Companionship for another pet at home
  • To add a ‘ mouser’ to the family
  • To guard the family and warn against intruders
  • For cuddling
  • You just love animals and can’t imagine life without one
  • Getting a dog will be motivation for those daily walks you’ve been meaning to add to your daily routine

Remember that people often use fallacies as shortcuts.  Instead of presenting a reasoned case for why you should make a certain decision, they default to just using emotion to do their work for them.   You might encounter this in a court of law.  Imagine the hypothetical case of a single mom accused of stealing meds from her assisted living patients where she works.  She claims she sells them on the street to supplement her $12 an hour wage because she has three children to support.

The prosecutor needs to present enough evidence to convince a jury of her guilt. Her sad circumstances might mitigate harsh sentencing.  But trying to use the Appeal to Pity during the case is to introduce an emotional argument that has nothing to do with her guilt or innocence.   

Where do YOU manipulate by appealing to pity?

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