Anthropomorphism: an innate tendency of human psychology
I cook for my dog, Bean. He eats almost as well as I do. I think this makes me an exemplary human being. Bean seems to agree because he follows me around adoringly from the time he gets up in the morning till he goes down for his first nap 20 minutes later.
Every three days I make a pot of rice and chicken. I cook the rice in chicken broth, which is a by-product of my Tuesday crockpot roasted chicken. I supplement the rice and chicken with additional broth, high quality kibble, and an assortment of flavor enhancers like hard-boiled egg, steamed broccoli, baby food, sweet potato, and an occasional chunk of beef, just to keep things interesting. Bean likes this routine a lot when he is on his feed—more often than not since I started going to all this effort.
Some people think this is crazy. My dad would probably have thought so too, and he was a veterinarian.
“He’s just a dog,” I can hear Dad saying.
Dad preferred livestock to pets. He thought dogs disgusting because they eat poop. I might have pointed out to him that they are less likely to eat poop if you cook for them, but I don’t think we would have got that far in a discussion.
Instead, I would reply, “No, Dad. He’s more than that. He’s family.”
“Anthropomorphism!” Dad would say.
“Call it what you will,” I’d answer, “but I think I should hold him at the same level of esteem that he holds me.”
“Proof,” Dad would say, “that he hasn’t sufficient reason to qualify for the humanity you want to give him.”
Bean would sleep peacefully through this exchange, proving, to my satisfaction at least, that he is every bit the stellar individual I hold him to be. He will be up in time for dinner. He is a creature of habit, and his schedule is sacrosanct. Just ask him.
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