Over on another forum, a discussion arose about how well pets are cared for in the participant's families or social circles. This is a topic that approaches the theme of our shop, so I thought it might be interesting to write my perspective on it. From my semi-rural roots where pets weren't treated much better than livestock, to my work in international dog rescue, to today I've observed a trend in how societies approach pet care. In general, pet care is worse in poor, rural communities and best in affluent communities. My research has shown that there are many reasons for this.
First, and probably pretty obvious, is that poor people simply can't afford to spend money on pets. Even in relatively affluent countries, like the United States, there are many poor people who would prefer to take better care of their pets, but just can't afford the best quality food or veterinary care. This is a situation that lies somewhat outside of the trend I'm describing here.
But in all countries around the world, less educated communities simply don't see the need for providing better care for animals. They see animals surviving in the wild, or foraging in waste bins and figure that's all an animal needs. People like this don't understand that animals need more than to be chained in the yard or kept in a tiny cage. It takes a long-term cultural shift to change social mores like that. It's long-term because the best approach is usually to educate the children who then grow up and pass these mores on to their children.
I've seen that even in my own life - as I mentioned, my early years were in a poor family and semi-rural community and it was very common for dogs to be chained up outside and for cats to survive eating mice and bugs. Happily, my whole family has educated ourselves out of this mindset, so we're all now good care-takers of our pets; it's unheard of for our dogs to be chained up in our social circles and our kitties sleep in our beds and eat high quality food. As a result, we're seeing our pets living almost twice a long and being more healthy overall.
As you move your focus to communities with more affluence, education levels also rise. This means that people in these communities can afford to "pamper" their animals but they're also more likely to fully understand proper animal care. People in this demographic are more likely to support pet adoption and donate to rescue organizations. They volunteer or even start their own grass-roots rescue organizations.
These trends occur in all countries around the world. When I worked for Scooby North America, I saw all of the exact same trends happening in Spain. So if we work together through our social circles, we can make an impact on the lives of pets all around the world!
(Capri, enjoying life as she should.)