Did you know that under the law pets are seen as replaceable property? That’s right, the law essentially treats losing a pet the same way as losing a table. In honor of Chloe the Mini Frenchie, Loni Edwards’ beloved dog who passed away due to medical error, PetInsider will be featuring a story every Wednesday about pets being family, not property. Please join us by reading the stories and signing the pledge we created with the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) to push for change.
I grew up in a Taiwanese-American household. In my parents’ culture, everyone you know is family: I called my parents’ friends “Aunt This” or “Uncle That”, and their kids were like siblings to me. I would even call the teller at the bank my parents “Auntie”—frankly, I never even thought twice about it.
As a kid, I begged for a puppy constantly, but my parents (wisely) refused, as all of the responsibilities would inevitably end up on their plates. But fortune smiled upon me the day that a close friend of my mother’s came to her with two adorable, tiny, fluffy puppies. My mother’s friend (“Auntie”) asked if we’d like to take care of one of these puppies. The first puppy was incredibly excitable and he ran in circles around my mom, while the other was shy and seemed bemused (at best) at her frenetic brother’s antics. The shy puppy ran to my mom and hid behind her when her older brother tried to wrestle her to the ground. My mom fell in love. And our family got a puppy.
A funny tidbit: You know how I said that that everyone is family in my parents’ culture? Well, this obviously includes our pets, too. And I remember how my mom always referred to our family dog as my “little sister.” “Did you get your little sister more water?” “Did you take your little sister out for a walk yet?” This embarrassed me to no end. “Mom, she’s a dog, not a biological relative,” I’d utter in as sarcastic voice as I could muster. But, of course, as parents often are, my mom was right. Our family dog was, of course, family.
Fast forward to years later, when Chris, my then boyfriend (now husband), decided we wanted to get a dog of our very own. I still remember the months it took for us to agree on what we were looking for in a dog, research different breeds, and find this new addition to our family. I also remember the way we felt when we brought home Sneakers, me sitting in the passenger seat of the car holding her close to me, and me looking over at Chris in the driver seat as I said, “She’s here. We’re taking her home. I can’t believe it.” We were brimming with happiness.
Sneakers is such an important member of our family. She was a flower girl at my husband’s and my wedding. She is a part of many of our vacations. She has been with my husband and me through a total of four moves. Sneakers even joins us at the office (such a hard worker, truly). This cuddly corgi has been a constant comfort to us through some of the most stressful times in our lives. Sneakers is our best friend. And that’s why we feel so strongly that pets are not property. We’re sure that you feel the same way!
Please join us in pushing for much needed change by signing and sharing the pledge (https://aldf.org/animalsnotproperty). Follow along every Wednesday for a new story, and sign up for our newsletter to receive it in your inbox.
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