Animals first, but don't spoil the show

Local | Georgina Noyce 20 Apr 2021

It has become a regular conversation point: just what is considered "spoiling" the animals in our care.

Even if we are spoiling them, does it really matter - they are animals after all, so it is highly unlikely they realize they are getting special treatment - just treatment they come to expect.

Getting back from a walk, the first thing to check is that they have water and somewhere to rest.

If we have been out for the evening, we check they are OK and still have water. If it is cold, we make sure they have a warm place to sleep and if hot, we ensure they have a cool place.

Putting the animals first doesn't feel like spoiling, it is no different than a good parent's action with young children who can't yet look after themselves.

Taking care of the weakest should be an automatic action, whether for humans or animals.

More so perhaps for animals, because they will never be able to look after themselves in our world, whatever they can manage in the wild.

After all, in the wild they can at least find food and water, while in our homes a dog will never learn to turn on the tap or get the can opener from the drawer to open its food.

Letting Jade cat sleep on the end of the bed is not spoiling her. It is simply keeping her out of the reach of feisty Bonnie the Pomeranian, who persists in chasing Jade, barking her head off; not amusing in the middle of the night.

However, I need to discuss this issue of "spoiling" with the man of the house, who feels he comes second to the animals (he can make his own tea after all) and mutters under his breath that I am spoiling this or that animal.

Recently, I found him perched uncomfortably on a footstool reading the paper, while Bonnie Pomeranian slept in his armchair, laid out on her back, tongue sticking out and a big grin on her face.

Why was he sitting on a footstool and not the comfortable armchair? "Bonnie didn't want to move and she looked so comfortable, I didn't like to disturb her."

Now, if that is not spoiling, I don't know what is.

Georgina Noyce is an equestrian judge, and has a menagerie of adopted four-legged waifs and strays.

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May 2021

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