Has Pet Ownership Changed Over Time?

had pet ownership changed over time karen schulz

Has pet ownership changed over time?  That’s definitely been my experience.

As far back as I can remember, my family had a dog as a household pet. I had 2 favorites: Blackie and Lady Mae. As much as I loved those dogs, and as much as I assume the rest of my family loved all of the dogs we ever had, none of them were allowed in the house. Well, I take that back, Lady Mae was allowed in the kitchen, but she knew that she didn’t dare put a foot over the threshold into the dining room. I remember feeding the dogs canned dog food, mixed with table scraps. I don’t ever remember taking any of the dogs to the veterinarian for any reason, either for wellness checks, vaccinations, or for an illness.

Dogs were pets, and they weren’t as important as the rest of the family. I’ve often wondered if that was because my parents grew up on farms, where dogs were treated like any other livestock.

At any rate, I look back and wonder how I came to the point where I currently am.

Our dog, Stella, is a bichon. She is definitely an indoor dog. She loves to sit outside and warm herself in the sun, but she won’t do it unless someone is outside with her, or she can see me through the glass door that leads from her favorite sunning spot to my office. The minute I get up and leave my office, she barks to let me know that she saw me leave and she didn’t like it.

Stella is a super picky eater. Even more so than me, which is pretty hard to top. I got so tired of trying to get her to eat her dry food that I started cooking chicken breasts just for her. I added a few bites of chicken to her dry food, and she ate it all up. After a while, though, that menu bored her and she started turning her cute little nose up at it.   That’s when I started cooking her chicken, vegetables, and rice for dinner. I cooked a large pot and froze dinner-sized portions. But still…. my husband, good-naturedly, says I spend more time cooking for Stella than I do for us. That could be true

I get my hair cut every 6 weeks, but before going to my appointment, I drop off Stella at the groomer’s for her appointment.  When I’m finished,  I pick her up, and we both come home with freshly washed and cut hair. She gets the bonus of getting her nails trimmed though.

I get my teeth cleaned every 3 months. So does Stella.

Stella sleeps on our bed and has her own little spot that is just hers.

She has 2 sweaters and 1 t-shirt. I’ve never been a person to dress my dogs, but it gets really cold here in the winter. It can get so cold that Stella shivers and curls up tightly into a little ball, so it getting her something warm to wear is just the right thing to do. But, please, no one tell her that I have more clothes than she does. I don’t feel obligated to buy her more clothes, but if she looks at me with her big brown eyes,  and I think she has a nice new sweater on her mind. I might just cave.

I read an article the other day that said that scientists estimate that a dog’s lifespan has doubled in the last 40 years. I’m not sure I have to look further than myself to understand why that might be.

But isn’t it wonderful that we can now keep our dogs with us for a longer period of time than we formerly could? I will gladly do what I do to have Stella with us for many more years.

had pet ownership changed over time karen schulz



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Comments (6)

  1. Julie LaPoint

    I love this! My husband and I grew up the same way! Our dogs lived mostly outdoors! They had canned dog food and our town didn’t even have a vet. The dogs had no shots, no check-ups, no treatment for illness other than family care. My beloved dog Smokey lived to be 15 years, 7 months, and 2 days!

    August 25, 2023 at 8:12 am
    • Wow! That’s a long life for a dog. I’m so glad you got to have Smokey with you for so long!

      August 25, 2023 at 9:45 am
  2. grandyjc

    I totally agree. I’ve had a couple dogs and MANY cats ever since I was a child, and ech one is more high maintenance than the last. My current kitty is the epicenter of both my son’s and my life. If she manages to sneak outside, the world stops until she is returned safely to the indoors. I believe I have spent more money on vet bills for her than all the previous pets put together although she’s a relatively healthy cat. Just any little change in her behavior or eating habits seems to warrant a trip to the vet. I have only had her since my husband passed, less than two years ago, but I cannot imagine life without her! (We won’t even talk about the damage to my upholstered dining chairs.) LOL

    August 25, 2023 at 9:53 am
    • Oh, I totally understand and agree with everything you’ve mentioned here! But the thing is, it’s another heartbeat in the house. I’m sorry for the loss of your husband. ♥ I’m glad your beloved cat is helping ease that pain. Sorry about your dining room chairs, too. 🙂

      August 25, 2023 at 9:57 am
  3. glee storm

    Totally agree on the pet issue! My beloved tabby passed at almost 20 yrs old; unheard of when I was a kid. I am granny to my son’s dog and I make her “granny stew” in the crock pot to supplement her dry kibble. It’s basically a 24hr on low bone broth using Costco chicken carcasses/skin. When I turn it off at hour 23, I throw in any meat us humans didn’t eat plus some chopped up carrots (she only likes those cooked, and the broth is hot enough to do it while cooling down.) She also gets raw broccoli stems, cucumbers as I’m making dinner and strawberries and kiwi when my husband is preparing the morning yogurt bowls. It’s a good life and they are definitely family!!
    I also have to comment on the teeth cleaning every 3 months. My hygenist has been mentioning this. Is this a new thing? Is this cuz we are (dare I say it) older? How long have you been doing this? I know my insurance won’t cover it, does yours?
    Mahalo, and I’m glad you’re safe. Please pray for Maui. aloha

    August 25, 2023 at 11:34 am
    • Wow, you were so fortunate to have your pet for 20 years; that’s a long time even by today’s standards. Your “granny stew” sounds like something my little Stella would love! Regarding 3 month cleanings, there are a lot of different reasons for a dentist recommending this. (I worked for a periodontist for 40 years, so I’m versed in this.) I do it because I have several dental implants. Implants can fail for many different reasons, and having cleanings every 3 months, is just a good insurance policy to make sure all if okay. I don’t have dental insurance (only medical). If I were you, I would ask your hygienist the reason for her recommendation, and go from there. I can say, that if you trust your dentist, and he/she is recommending it, I would do it. It’s a lot less expensive to do that than not, based on the problems that could possibly develop by not doing it. Hope that helps.

      August 26, 2023 at 3:39 pm
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