I'm Sure Glad I'm Not Sarah Palin's Dog: Dogs Aren't Stools

"Chill. At least Trig didn't eat the dog."

I've had a number of people asking me to weigh in on the recent incident in which Trig, Sarah Palin's 6-year-old son, used Jill, their beloved family dog, as a stepping stool. Ms. Palin's thoughtless and heartless comment was, "Chill. At least Trig didn't eat the dog." (See also here.)

A missed opportunity in humane education.

Frankly, I'm not sure what more to say other than this was an important missed opportunity for Ms. Palin to educate her son and her numerous followers that dogs and other animals are sentient beings who care about what happens to them, and not merely tools to be used for our convenience. Sure, when dogs play, on occasion they likely endure more pain then when a young kid steps on them. However, this is not the important point. The important missed opportunity is that because she commands wide press when she speaks out on just about anything, this could have been a most useful lesson in humane education for a much wider audience, namely, that dogs and other animals are to be respected and should not be used or viewed as objects.

In response to Ms. Palin's claim that "Jill is a precious part of our world," all I can say is that I'm glad I'm not her dog. There's a disheartening disconnect when people say they love animals and then mistreat them. If this is what "love" means to them, I'm glad they don't love me.