Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Dachshund Nola Debates: "Exploiting" Our Pets

Hey, everyone! Finally have a debate post for ya. ;)

I picked today's topic due to a Facebook conversation a couple of weeks ago. One of my good friends, Lauren from ZoePhee, got an interesting discussion going on about exploiting our pets. I believe the adorable Grumpy Cat was the main point of conversation, but pet bloggers were also brought up. I feel pretty strongly about this, and pretty baffled at the same time, so let's get to it! As always, please let me know your thoughts in the comments below and refer to our debate photo!

First off, let's see what the actual definition of exploit is (verb form, according to my MacBook):

we should exploit this new technology: utilizeharnessusemake use ofturn/put to good usemake the most ofcapitalize onbenefit frominformal cash in on.exploiting the workerstake advantage ofabuseimpose ontreat unfairlymisuseill-treatinformal walk (all) overtake for a riderip off.

With that in mind, let's begin.

As I mentioned above, the infamous Grumpy Cat was the spark of the original Facebook debate. People are, apparently, up in arms that Grumpy Cat is "unhappy", "stressed", "tired", "sad" ect, over her fame and would rather be at home. If you can slog through it, this excuse for an article goes into more detail of just how horrid Grumpy Cat's life is. Reading a few different ones of a similar vein and some comments on varying sites, people have a similar hate for bloggers.
On the other hand, you have people who are enraged that someone is making money off their beloved pet probably because they wish they'd've thought of it first. The fact that the animal is well cared for means nothing. Clearly, they are the devil incarnate and should be burned at the stake.

This was too perfect not to use. #SorryNotSorry

I could barely type that bullshit out. A lot of people are genuinely upset about it. Like, a lot of people.   Our government is using Orwell's 1984 as a how-to guide, I can't open Facebook without seeing dozens of police brutality reports, people are jobless and starving and homeless, we're at war, we're in debt, children, animals and the elderly are being abused every single second....and you're upset that someone is making money off their well cared for pet, and that the pet might not have chosen that life.




You have no idea how much fun I had perusing Pinterest for these delightful images.

That aside...if you can even push something like that aside...here's a few things people seem to miss:

- You are not the animal's owner. You don't know them, and therefore aren't one to say if the animal is unhappy. Perhaps she really has been unhappy a few times, but so what? That's life. Pike completely shuts down at the vet. He's terrified. Should I stop taking him just because it's something he doesn't like?
Okay, that might not be the fairest analogy. I'm sure someone is thinking "well, one is necessary and the other is not!", and fair point. Here's another for you: Pike isn't a big fan of car rides, but he LOVES the beach. Should I stop taking him because of the 20 minute car ride, when he enjoys the 2-4 hours we're there? I can't make my dogs' lives sunshine and roses 24/7, as much as I'd like to. We live in a real world, and it's not always perfect.

- The cat is well cared for and loved. What else really matters?

- Pets aren't people. They don't think like people, act like people, or feel in the same regard people do (thank god for that!).

- What, exactly, is wrong with making money off your pet?

- It's not your animal!

Since starting this blog nearly 4 years ago, I've made a surprising (to me, at least) amount of money, both in products and monetary compensation. If I had to put a number on it, I'd say it's in the $4,000 range. Since this blog is about my dog (and now dogs), and I wouldn't have made a dime without Miss Nola, Nola has brought in all that money. While I didn't set out to make money off the blog,  and I'm certainly not getting rich on it, I won't lie and say I don't find it an enjoyable perk, and will happily keep making money off my dogs in the future.

Think about it. You follow my blog on a regular basis, and you see my dogs are extremely well cared for. They're happy, in perfect health, and want for nothing. They receive the best food I can afford, the best vet care, individual training, consistent exercise and unlimited love and affection. I take their photos and video, which they all love (though none quite like Nola), and I put them online. Not a single thing with them would change if I wasn't blogging.

I see no reason to be upset over an animal "earning its keep", if you will. If they're well cared for and loved, who cares?

This wasn't my most cohesively written debate post, but I'm exhausted with a splitting headache and literally slapped this together last minute. I'm off to bed (it's Monday night as I write this)!

Dachshund Mommy


  1. We totally agree with you! OMG indeed!
    Jeanne, Chloe and LadyBug

  2. Well said my friend. My view, people need to worry about their own shit first.

  3. Wow, someone pushed your buttons. :) Hope your headache is gone.

    Maybe Grumpy Cat is being harmed and maybe he isn't. But I certainly can't tell from this distance. It's up to people who know him, including his vet, to make that call if they think he's being put at risk.

  4. I am sure there is a bit of jealousy among the Grump Cat nay-sayers. The owner is making signifcant money off of the cat. That cat would look grumpy and miserable even if it had never been "discovered". That's just how its markings and mouth set look. Unfortunately, when you put yourself in the public eye, you become a target for a lot of hateful people.

  5. Wow, some people have a lot of time on their hands to worry about something like that. I don't have a problem with people making money off of their blogs and/or their dogs. I often tell Blueberry she needs to start pulling her own weight and get herself a job. ;) I'd never put her in danger for a photo for a post and I don't imagine any dog blogger like yourself would either. We love our dogs enough to share them with the world. :)

  6. Wes' Mom: I am very much a line rider when it comes to debates, and this is no real exception. I agree with you...but at the same time I can easily see where people can get up in arms about Tardar Sauce and the celebrity surrounding the cat. Jealousy has a huge chunk to do with most of them, sure...but there are some who are probably (I hope, anyway) genuinely concerned for the feline. Even blogging as I do now about Wes, I see some of the things and events Tarder Sauce has been involved in and I kinda of question her owners and wonder just why they would take an animal that, as a general species, tends to be more happy with a quieter setting and not being passed from person to person. BUT then you know what? I realized generally that may be true, and MY cat certainly falls into that category...but this isn't my cat! I can't be looking from the outside in and making any calls on if Tarder Sauce is happy or not...for all I know this cat is loving the attention and one of those crazy social butterfly types (which is how my sister's cat, Fiona, is!). Either way though, until some awful report (that I hope to never ever see comes out) I am sure Tarder Sauce is well loved and VERY well cared for by her family. I am sure that in any situation if she showed any true distress at any event her owners would remove her from the situation..or so I hope. But either way...not my call to make.

    Hmm, for such a long post, I really could have saved time at gone with 'I agree with Pamela.' lol

  7. I completely agree with you and this post totally cracked me up!! Those memes are perfect!!

    I think jealousy does play a huge role in this controversy, I really do. People think we get free stuff and that we don't work for it. They are totally wrong. The amount of time I spend working on reviews for things even as small as a $5 bag of treats is ridiculous. Learning about the product, taking pictures, editing pictures and writing it can take hours!

    I also think that because some people do have very shy cats that they are concerned that a cat wouldn't be happy going out into public. Before I had my dogs, I used to take my cats to pet stores and walk them on leashes all the time and I have pictures to prove it. Pandora and Lilly LOVED going. They soaked up all the attention and had a great time. Hurley didn't like it and he stayed home. To this day, even though Lilly is the bitchiest kitty ever, she is the first one to great guests because I socialized her as a kitten. She actually likes strangers more than us most days! I told my vet to be careful because she's mean and bites and he told me that had I not told him he would of never guessed that because she was perfect.

    I also agree with you that people should worry about actual problems going on in the world. Someone taking pictures of their kitty and making some money is not a real problem and that cat will never want for anything. I also believe the owners donate a significant amount of money to rescues. So there's that, too! :D

  8. They wish it was them. We have made money too but it's obviously for fun sure as hell not to live off of. As long as the pets are loved as they are, there should be no further discussion. Their focus should be pet cruelty, beat, locked in cars in the heat, chained outside..... So there!
    Lily & Edward

  9. First, I hope your head feels better. I have had a migraine on and off for a week so I can relate.
    Secondly, it is an interesting debate. I think it is fair that there are probably people who are truly exploiting their pets (and if you turn on TLC you can see them exploited their children too). However, I don't think my blog exploits my pets. In 4 years I have maybe made $400 in total. I don't do it for that. Being part of the blogging community actually leads to better care for my pets. It makes me more accountable in training. It gives me a coping tool for when things don't go well (especially in the early Hailey years) and I have learned about new products etc. [This is not to say that my first dogs pre-blogging weren't cared for, I spent over $10 000 in 10 months to take care of my Loki for example, it was just different].
    If you can make money from a hobby, why is that a bad thing?
    People just need something to complain about! I agree with Lily and Edward, instead of focusing on the well loved dogs with blogs (and other celebrity pets), let's deal with animal cruelty. Sigh!

  10. My reaction is the same as many others'. I think that these people have waaaay too much time on their hands. If I see a blog where I don't agree with how the animals are treated, I leave and don't go back. I think that most of us are that way. Anyway... those people are crazy.

  11. The very reason I block A LOT of people from my FB (which I really don't use anyway, butt like reading the dog posts). I don't tolerate stupid people who talk politics or such crap. I just don't have the energy or willingness to allow them to take up a moment of my thoughts or energy. Same can be said about some dog people too. This did surprise me, I have to admit. People can be NUTS! I have learned to laugh, and move on.
    As for exploiting your pet for money, fame , or whatever...where do I sign up???!!! LOL....Ruby wants to know..just sayin'...she wants some extra kibbles..and treaties...and margaritas...☺

  12. I have to say that mostly I agree with you. I mean people who care enough to blog about their dogs must at least love their dogs! That is how I see it anyway. Also dogs don't live independently from people- be definition they are kinda around to conform to our lives and allow us to make every decision for them. It is not like pets have (or should have) autonomy to decide what is best for their lives. As far as grumpy cat I do think they might be a little misguided over there. I know other "famous" animals- Lil Bub and Tuna come to mind for instance- often turn down red carpet gigs and limit number of tickets at meet and greets for the better of their animals. Grumpy cat I have seen the owner running down a line of screaming fans at a red carpet letting everyone grab at/touch the cat. Between that and the constant pimping out to Frisky cat food I would say they could probably benefit from taking a step back and thinking about the cat- but we don't really know if they take good care of her or not. I don't live at their house and I have seen a lot of people do much worse things than what has been done to grumpy cat- but to be fair I judge those people too. Maybe that is what it boils down to- I judge individual actions and it has nothing to do with making money or not. If you are holding your pet out to be grabbed/pulled at by hundreds of screaming people I will judge you if you make money off it or not. Also I am a person who is professionally in the entertainment industry AND my dogs have done acting work. When you have animals involved in things like that producers and publicists will insist on you doing things that are unsafe or unhealthy for your animal and you just have to grow a pair and put your foot down for the best of your animal and I don't think Grumpy Cats owner is doing a great job at that these days.

    1. Ok- read the article and just one more thing. I cite my above instances of issue with the treatment of grumpy cat but that article is BS in my opinion. Movie sets these days are some of the safest places for animals. Not only is the owner there but there is independent involvement from a representative of the ASPCA who is there only to make sure the animals are treated well (I think they are the ones that oversee it these days, it might be the HSUS). We all know how those two organizations are, you might as well have PETA on set! The comfort and safety of the pets is always put first and if it is not the reps can literally shut down shooting- and often threaten to. So unless the movie was filmed in some back alley then we can say they were not over worked on set.

  13. I think blogging gives viewers a certain amount of transparency on how we care for our pets. Is it cruel? It better not be - people look at every photo and judge, whether the realize they are or not. I think blogging has made me a better dog owner, simply because I get my pups out more, have more adventures with them and am always looking for the next thing to do or try. I've learned so much to by reading others' stories. My pets are better for it. I can't speak for an animal on the red carpet, but I don't buy into the pets are exploited story.

    Monty and Harlow, and their Mom - who's tired of everyone having to nanny everyone else... :)

  14. I was actually a part of the original discussion.

    Firstly I would like to say my feelings do not stem from jealousy. I work a full time job, and a part time job, I enjoy both and because of my jobs I have the ability to buy the things I want - for me, or for my pets. I have nothing against bloggers getting free product or monetary compensation for their writing. I don't believe I ever targeted bloggers in my reply.

    I do feel there is a certain level of exploitation, take Colonel Meow. His owner - who I'm sure at the time was making money off of the cat, created a gofund me type page when he was suddenly ill. She did not say what was wrong, never could I really find a 'cause' for this cat to be hospitalized, and soon after euthanized. Over the course of a few days people donated $30k and they had no idea what they were donating for. I think that is shady.

    Also, I know Lauren made a point to say [and has said in the past], she does not force her dogs to be photographed or do things if they are not feeling it. Just because she is that way with her animals doesn't mean these other people with 'famous' pets treat their animals the same way. Like another poster mentioned, especially for animals going on TV - there can be a lot of pressure for an animal to behave a certain way.

    I would also like to say too, I don't spend my days stewing over this. The post was made and I felt comfortable sharing my opinion, but it certainly isn't something I focus on or worry about on a daily basis.

  15. Exploiting pets/animals for monetary gain is now new. Circus? Zoo? Street Monkeys? I am not making a statement about it being ok but pointing out that this practice has existed for eons. It's different today because now anyone can do it on the internet from their couch.

    I don't have an opinion per se about Grumpy Cat. I am aware that the exploitation is possible because of a congenital defect (as is Tuna).

    Now, on the spectrum of exploiting animals, I think blogs are way, way down on the scale. I think the next lower step would be dressing your pet up, folding their ears back, pushing their lip up on their teeth so they look "derp", or whatever for a few moments of amusement. I am willing to bet that kind of thing happens almost daily (or at least monthly) in the home of a well cared for pet. Sadly, there are cruel and truly abusive things going on to animals in this country all of the time. I say put your passion there where it will it will make a real difference and leave Grumpy Cat, Tuna and others business up to the owners.


Thank you for commenting!