I may be one of the only people who swipes left on most dating profiles when the person has a picture of or with their dog(s). It’s not that I take issue with the photo or having a pet in general. It’s just, on a dating app, you post pictures that are indicative of your life — things you enjoy and that are important to you. So, those with these types of photos likely have a special bond with their animal companions. They don’t just have a pet. They’re dog or cat lovers.
I don’t see how it could work between us. Having a pet isn’t a deal-breaker, but the idea is unappealing. I’m sure the feeling is likely to be mutual and these prospective mates would also have a low tolerance for my stance. So …. Why bother?
I would never hurt an animal or tolerate seeing one hurt. I’m simply not a pet person. We had dogs in the household when I was a child. So, it’s not from lack of exposure.
I’ve just never felt compelled to cuddle with or rub animals, have them lick my face, or sleep in my bed. I don’t want them on me at all. However, these things are pretty standard for people with furry friends. This is basic dog dad/mom stuff.
Now you understand my skepticism toward the potential for a serious union?
I hear all the time that if you don’t like animals, particularly dogs, there’s something wrong with you. It’s as though the revelation is borderline offensive. Some just can’t understand.
I had a colleague tell me I’m dead inside because I don’t swoon at pictures of puppies. He’d ask, “isn’t this little guy cute?” And I’d say, “he looks like a dog.”
My heart swells in the presence of babies, and my eyes water at demonstrations of intense love. To my co-worker, none of that mattered. I don’t like animals, so I’m cold and unloving, he’d suggest. And I know he’s not alone in that sentiment.
I started typing “don’t like animals” into Google, and two of the four auto-complete phrases were:
1. Psychopaths don’t like animals, and
2. Sociopaths don’t like animals.
That is what people search for concerning non-animal lovers! There’s research to support that harming animals can be a precursor for future disturbing behavior — but does merely not being a fan signify an emotional defect? Research also suggests that a predisposition to seeking the companionship of animals could be derived from simple genetics.
There are so many articles about why you shouldn’t trust people who don’t like animals. This one references how pet owners generally view people who are unresponsive to animals as lacking compassion. It also touches on the flip side, where some find pets “tiresomely trivial,” and certain animal rights activists consider pets “enslaved creatures.” To me, all of those viewpoints are extreme. It’s just not my thing.
Yet, I see the assumption made all the time that everyone should be fond of animals.
I see it when people let their dogs run up and lick at my ankles while I’m trying to jog around the park. I saw it when a lady let her dog come and sniff my food while eating on a restaurant patio. When someone chuckled out an “I’ll clean it up” as their dog peed on my carpet, I knew. A colleague brought her dog into work and let him gallivant about the office, invading everyone’s workspace and rifling through my trash. She smiled.
I’ve learned that being bothered by these things puts me in the minority, and most in the majority think they’re justified in not seeing the issue. I get that pets bring many people joy and comfort. I think it’s great. I have no problem with adoring a pet and everything that they do; only don’t expect everyone else to.
This thread of 12 Things You Understand If You’re Not An Animal Person doesn’t hold back, but I read one person’s revelation in particular and felt seen:
When I tell people I am not vegan for the animals, I basically get thrown to the wolves. (…I don’t even like wolves). [And] when my newsfeed is filled with pictures of pit bulls with hats on or kittens licking iguanas, my cute factor chemical is just not stimulated. Sorry.
Animals do nothing for me, bad or good. Seeing them evokes no feelings either way. Whether they’re in a purse, wearing a denim jacket, or simply lying on the floor — my lack of innate response is the same.
Perhaps my disinterest in animals does indicate something. Maybe it reflects my comfort level with intimacy or a missing piece of my emotional makeup. I mean, I’ll be the first to admit I often believe something is off there. Or, maybe it only indicates an independent indifference to animals. If it’s the former and not the latter, well then. I guess I’m just screwed.
This post was previously published on Hello, Love and is republished here with permission from the author.
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