Here's How to Act Around Pet Lovers If You Hate Animals

Even if you don't like pets, it's improper to shout it out loud so the world hears your hatred.

Richie Frieman
6-minute read
Episode #384

Like my good friend The Dog Trainer, I’m a big time pet enthusiast. My 12-year-old beagle Camden has me wrapped around his little paws and it’s been that way since he was eight weeks old. It’s not just dogs; even though I am allergic to cats, I still love them. Needless to say, I proudly wear the badge of being a bona fide pet lover.

Despite my devotion to our four-legged friends, I am well aware that not everyone feels the same way about pets. In fact some people despise them, and that’s totally fine. I mean there is no rule that says you have to like pets at all. But I do believe it’s proper at least tolerate them when it comes to a pet lover in your personal and/or professional life. So, before you roll your eyes when someone shows you a new picture of their puppy, check out my top three quick and dirty tips for how to be a proper pet lover (even if you aren't):

Tip #1: Take a General Interest

Josh Billings once said, “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself,” and that statement warms my heart. Even if I have a terrible day, my dog knows exactly what to say (yes, we speak to one another) to make everything right again. But many people out there would think otherwise, and it’s improper to fault them for that. Now, I haven’t done an “official” study, but if you asked ten people if they considered themselves a “pet lover,” I’m pretty sure at least eight would say "yes." Yet for the other two people in this scenario the mere thought of snuggling up to a puppy causes them want to dry heave. And again, that’s their prerogative. Using my “non scientific” but “basically realistic” test, you will mostly encounter people—through family, dating, or work—that do like pets. Many of which LOVE them.  When this happens it’s improper to turn your head and cringe at the site of a newborn pug or over-drooling Bassett hound. I recommend a simple, “Oh, how cute,” smile and going along with the show versus giving a “Ugh, really! A dog! Ugh…” look.

Here, let’s take a look at this pet loving issue from another angle. Let’s pretend we’re talking about music. Now, even if you’re not a classical music fan, that doesn’t mean you can’t turn your brain off if a friend enjoys it. I mean, you don’t have to go to a concert every weekend or even have a setting on your radio for the classical station to show an appreciation for the talent of the musicians. I mean, their skill is undeniable. With that, you can’t even pretend classical music isn’t interesting on some level, to millions of people. Well, the same thing goes for pets; you may not enjoy them, or ever want one, but you can’t dismiss the fact that the majority of people have a close interest in furry friends. So, be it music, food, or pets, if someone in your life has a deep-set interest in anything that is so intimate to their life, it’s proper to at least humor them. Look, it won’t kill you to take a general interest in their pet fandom.  Allow them talk about their pets, let them show you pictures, and ask questions and stay engaged in return.  Don’t act like it’s torture. After all, not everything you love in life is always going to be magical in the eyes of everyone else, and it’s improper to show pure dislike because you disagree.

Tip #2: Do the Bare Minimum

True story: After a great first date, Nick thought Brooke was “the one.” She liked the same music, had a job in the same industry, and they even shared mutual friends. However, when on the second date, Nick arrived at her house, he was greeted with a yappy little toy poodle nipping at his shoes. Nick said this was not a part of the plan. He told me that of all the deal breakers in the world, having a dog was at the top. Now he was being faced with the girl of his dreams having some pint-sized baggage that he did not plan for. What made it even worse was when Brooke picked up Pinky (the dog) and told Nick, “Isn’t she the cutest thing you’ve ever seen? Give her a kiss!” he realized she was a pet lover on a different level. Needles to say, Nick did not take her up on that one. With kissing Pinky aside, Nick had to make a tough decision. I mean, he was adamant about not dating someone with a pet, and clearly Pinky was a very important part of Brooke’s life. So, is this the end of Nick and Brooke as we know?