I am still cuddled in your arms while the dogs lie quietly next to us. Because they have no choice. Of course, I offer them a dry, warm accommodation, enough to eat, medical care and enough exercise. At least, what I see as sufficient. But basically, I decide about them, all their life. I decide when it’s time to eat, walk or rest. They are not allowed to decide for themselves. Ultimately, I treat them like children who will stay forever. And for that they should love me?
Our domesticated fellow creatures are masters of adaptation. Without complaint they accept what I decide for them. It seems like it’s neither better nor worse than any other decision. They live their lives with all the intensity they can. Jump around me when I get dressed and take the ropes, which tells them it’s time for a walk. Be wide awake and attentive when I take the food bowls to fill them. It is the best of all possibilities for them and they use it. I recognize something that we humans rarely can. Day after day, moment by moment in all simplicity and clarity to live. That’s why so many pets are abused. It is man’s envy of this ability to be and to live in life until the last moment. They give us more than we could ever give them. A fixture in life. Loyalty to the death. They are there, as a matter of course, do not betray us and do not want us to do any harm. We also abuse them in the way we use them as a substitute for human referral partners. They allegedly loved us unconditionally, let’s call it. It is not unconditional, but an absence of choices. And who has no choice, cannot decide for love, because one of the basic requirements of love is freedom. I have this freedom, not them. Is it still love, one of its rich facets? It is one-sided, engaging and robbing autonomy. That’s the way love can look like. Or is the word wrong then?
Consumption does not happen only with our non-human fellow creatures. We also practice it with children, partners or whoever is in the situation of not having a choice. Everywhere we meet it. The premise that it works is that the will is broken for those who are inferior, absorbed and oppressed. For once we know no speciesism. That’s why so many broken, dependent, docile creatures are in our society. Because we call dependence and adherence love and mean the best thing to do. Which is true to some degree, because the one who controls is definitely doing the best for himself. But love is not. Not the smallest trace. The harder my responsibility is to them. Of course, it would be foolish to think that I could give them the freedom, because they never learned and would not want it anymore. Years ago, I decided for them that I now have to and want to carry. If they are not and cannot live an autonomous life, then at least they deserve to live a dignified and respectful life in which they are at least entitled to the freedom that is possible for a domesticated non-human creature within a civilization-degenerated human world give. That’s the least and actually the only thing I can give back to them.
I slip out of your arms, smile at you. The danger of losing me is over.
„What about a walk?“ I suggest to you.
„In the woods?“ you ask.
„Yes, in the forest,“ I confirm, „Grounding us and enjoying the last rays of the setting sun.“
„Great idea,“ you mean, and as I go out to put on my shoes, two excited quadrupeds jump around me. I did not ask them if they wanted. They are never asked, but they are still full of anticipation because it is the best of all possibilities to be happy too.