Talk 2 The Animals: Animals Are Not Presents

Note: This is Part II of giving animals as gifts. You can read Part I here.

In a recent, unofficial, I-just-want-to-know-poll that I ran on Facebook, I asked the burning question: Should animals be given as gifts?

This time of the year is filled with thoughts and images (not to mention books and movies) of happy children getting licked in the face by an adorable wiggly puppy or cute kitties placing their little paws on a sweet child’s cheek. Always surrounded by their benevolent and happy family dressed in holiday best, looking on with beaming approval. A scene that would do Norman Rockwell proud.

And to be perfectly honest, when I was a kid, all I wanted for Christmas was a pony. When that didn’t pan out, I asked for a dog, which didn’t pan out, either.

But back to the Facebook poll. Overwhelmingly, people responded with a ‘no’, qualifying that further by adding unless it was well thought out in advance. You can read the comments on the unofficial, I-just-want-to-know-poll here.

Animals Are Sentient Souls

I’m sure those of you who have known me or followed me throughout the years will not be surprised by my answer to the question ‘should animals be given as gifts’?

It is a big, resounding no.

Here’s my reasoning: one does not have the right to give away another sentient soul. It’s that simple.

I know this is contrary to our conditioning and to our culture. It is contrary to how we see ourselves in relationship to animals. It’s contrary to the world at large. It’s just plain contrary.

But in this day and age, contrary can be exactly what’s called for and what’s needed.

Our Role as Caretakers

We see ourselves as the caretakers in our animals’ lives, which we are. We make sure they are well cared for, stay healthy and happy. This is what we agree to when we invite animals to be a part of our life, it’s part of our commitment to them.

As a matter of fact, we’re so used to taking good, loving care of our animal family that it can be easy to forget they are sentient souls, too. Just like us, these sentient souls have their own plans, ideas and goals for their life.

Of course, we’re talking different species, so their plans and goals are different from ours. Obviously, a snake and my life purposes and goals are going to be quite different. That doesn’t mean the snake’s goals are subordinate to mine; it just means his goals are as apropos for his reptile life as mine are for my human life.

We can’t judge another species’ life plan through a perspective and lens that is limited only to our human experience and condition.

When we accept the fact that another species is every much a sentient soul as we humans are, then we must look at the way we treat that species and the way we are in relationship with them. We must treat them with the honor, respect and emancipation that we treat other humans.

The Declaration of Animal Rights

Did you know there is a Declaration of Animal Rights? You can read and sign it here. Under #6, it says, in part:

“Animals are not the property or commodity of humans, and are not theirs to use for their benefit or sustenance. Therefore, they are to be free from slavery, exploitation, oppression, victimization, brutality, abuse, and any other treatment that disregards their safety, own free will and dignity.”

Therefore, animals are not ours to do with as we please. They are not property to be given away, they are not toys, they are not creatures made for our human convenience and pleasure. They are sentient souls of their own, and as such, have the right to be treated accordingly.

Yes, as I said above, I know this is contrary to popular culture and practice, so be it. We don’t give humans as gifts, therefore we should not be giving animals as gifts. Until we can be contrary enough look at animals and see them as another sentient soul, we are seeing ‘just a dog’, ‘just a rabbit’, ‘just a horse’. Don’t animals deserve more than that?

It’s that simple, in my opinion.

Here’s To New Beginnings,


from Janet Roper, Animal Communicator & Educator


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