Monday, November 5, 2018

Furternity Leave

An amusing article appeared on a news website that I frequent. It is all about a new employee benefit that is popping up, called "Furternity." Furternity is like maternity leave, or family leave, except it refers to when an employee acquires a new pet. Seriously. An employee can work at home for the purpose of being available to acclimate and train the animal.

I have no objections to this, but it is rather indulgent. Until not many years ago a woman was expected back at work soon after childbirth (if she hadn't lost her job because of her pregnancy), and a man couldn't even work at home to be available to help with the new human in the family. Now it's acceptable to do so for pets!

This post is less about this policy than about the amusing misconception some of the article's interviewees have in equating raising pets with raising children. 

First off, a spokesman for the company that has pioneered Furternity admitted the company sees that new pets are almost as important as new children. Good heavens, who knew? The same person said that the company wants to given flexibility to employees when they're making a major life change (getting a pet). It used to be that you got a pet. End of story. Folks in past generations would laugh out loud at the thought of a new pet being "a major life change." That phrase was reserved for a move across country, a marriage, a death, or maybe even the birth of a child.

cute! (when small)

We are informed that 75 percent of folks in their 30s own a dog. I don't doubt that, as I found when knocking on doors for the Census Bureau back in 2010. Nearly 3/4 of the homes I visited had a dog, usually an obnoxious one. I love many dogs, just not the poorly trained ones who throw themselves at the door (or window!) hoping for a chance to chew an innocent stranger's leg off. 

What really got me in this article was the woman who said that raising a puppy "helped her and her husband learn how to act as parents." I tried hard to suppress a smart-aleck chuckle, and failed. She'll find out the hard way how ridiculous that statement is.

Personally, I see little correlation between the raising of the two. For starters, I can't imagine enticing a child to do a 'trick' (sitting up, crawling, riding a bike, etc.) by offering it a delectable treat, as we would with a dog, for instance. The child would perform for the treat, eat the treat, then keep on doing what it wants to do how it wants to do it. Maybe children are more like cats than dogs.

less demanding pets

If you own a dog and you work, you can either turn it out into the yard for the day or lock it in a carrier. Try doing either with a child. Flash a handsome smile for your mug shot.

A very young child can be awake all night long, or awake in spurts 4-5-6-10 times a night. They require constant attendance. Throwing out a piece of meat or treat to quiet them doesn't work like it does for a pet. You'll arrive at work the next day looking disheveled and worn, like you haven't slept in a year. And maybe you haven't. 

Would you be able to pawn the child off to a new home because he/she was too noisy--too destructive--too big for your tiny apartment? Or send your child to live with a nice farmer out in the country when you tired of his/her obnoxious antics? Didn't think so.

If you think pets are expensive, you'll be shocked at what children cost. And the equipment! And traveling with children isn't for the fainthearted. It would be easy if you could lock them in a carrier with a piece of meat, but no. Raising a child is vastly more complicated and demanding than keeping a pet. They're not even in the same league! I should know. I have five children and have had my share of pets.

My husband and I were born in the wrong century. To think that folks can work at home for their new pet's sake, when my husband couldn't even do that to enjoy our new babies!

Just for fun, here is a story about my sister's adorable furry pet. Mom was reading the newspaper very early one morning when she felt something brush her foot. She absent-mindedly moved her foot, thinking her robe was in the way. It happened again, the soft, gentle movement of fuzzy touching her foot. She bent over to look, then bolted across the room with a scream! My sister's pet tarantula had escaped its cage, and was attempting to crawl across Mom's foot! After that the spider's cage lid was weighed down with soup cans until my sister could find a new owner. No more escaped tarantulas in that house!

my sister had one of these pets until it figured out how to escape its pen

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