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How does my pet feel?

Pets are not toys or stu ed animals. They are living creatures just like us. Just like us, pets have ‘life’. ‘Life’ cannot be bought or sold, and is the most important thing we have. If we want to have ‘life,’ two things that we need to have are food, and also a bathroom!

Our pets get hungry just like us, and they want to use the bathroom, just like us! But our pets can't talk like we can, they can only make noises

That’s why when our pets make noises, we need to think, “Oh, our pet is hungry,” or “Oh, our pet needs to go to the bathroom.” We need to remember that our pets need this every single day, just like us. They can’t spend one day without eating or going to the bathroom, just like how we can’t spend a whole day without eating or going to the bathroom. Having a pet is really more like having a younger brother or a younger sister. They are just like us, and we must take care of them well!

Raising a pet is truly an invaluable lesson for children to learn to care for someone or something other than themselves. Moreover, because animals can’t talk like a sibling or friend could, a child must do more to learn to anticipate what their pet wants, what they need, and what is good for them. Pets aren’t meant just to be cute and cuddly, and there is much more to taking care of them than just playing with them. Taking them for walks, cleaning up after them, and feeding them are just a few of the very basics of pet care.

Pets help us learn to think and care about others by constantly making us ask ourselves the question, “How would I feel if I were my pet?” Pets can’t tell us how they feel, so we naturally have to learn a great degree of empathy to properly care for our pets. In every situation, we must anticipate their needs and understand their reactions. We do this by projecting ourselves onto our pets as a way of better understanding them. If we forget to take them on a walk, we naturally relate it to how it feels when we aren’t able to use the bathroom. In this way, we develop an awareness that we are not unlike our pets, as we too need others to care for us, understand us, and help us in order for us to survive.

Everyone has needed, and in fact still needs, help from others in order to survive. So much so that it is reasonable to say that the ability to care for each other is arguably humanity’s most important characteristic. Chinese philosopher Confucius makes a point of emphasizing this truth. He believes that the true reason a person should want to study or build knowledge is to work with and care for others. Even if knowledge is not considered essential to daily life, philosophy, literature, and the arts are tools that helps us better understand the broad and complex range of emotion that we all share, and consequently, equips us to be better at caring for and understanding other people. Confucius explains that this is the meaning of true knowledge. He said countless times that it is not enough to be moved by art, or uplifted by music. If it is not useful, knowledge is meaningless. However, when a moved heart becomes a caring heart, and when an uplifted person expresses joy by helping others, then knowledge has truly become theirs. Confucius defines this as the best kind of person. Education, social status, and wealth do not make a good person. It is what a person does with their education, social status, or wealth that determines a person’s worth. When an educated person thinks of how they can use their education to help other people; when a person of status thinks of how he or she can benefit society from his or her position; and when a wealthy person thinks of how he can use his money for others, then they have truly achieved their worth.