Horrible pet parents unite

I love this recent post from Mel Freer where she longs for the good old days before we were overinundated with information about pet food recalls, puppy mill abuses, and terrible people who do awful things to animals. I agree. On the one hand, the internet has made the dissemination of information so much easier, and that is a very good thing in a lot of ways. On the other hand, it kind of makes information hard to escape. There is a constant barrage of it, and unless you just flat out disengage, it’s always there. Maybe that is why I keep making plans to go to Africa.

Don’t get me wrong- I’m glad we have access to information and news in a way we never have before. It’s amazing to me that breaking news takes place on Twitter, of all places, and Facebook. Do you remember having to look things up in your family’s Encyclopedia Britannica? Or go to the library and look up subjects on those little cards? It’s nuts. Now I can research stuff while standing in line at Starbucks, or look up a recipe while my kids are at tae kwon do. It’s fantastic.

But all of this comes with a price. With the world at our fingertips, the bar’s been raised for everyone. On every topic. There’s no excuse for not knowing everything, at every time, and acting accordingly, because Google is here and we are expected to use it.

Ever had a conversation with a know it all? They’re just insufferable.

“So I was having breakfast the other day with Mom-”

“Well, you told me you met up at 10:30, technically that’s brunch.”

“OK, well, anyway, she said she wanted poached eggs-”

“You can’t eat eggs! Didn’t you hear about the massive Salmonella outbreak last week?” etc etc.

Sometimes I feel like the internet is like this grand sinkhole of knowitallness. There is just so much information out there, as in vast quantities of unlimited data, that it’s almost impossible to have a conversation without someone, somewhere interjecting some fact that may or may not be relevant, helpful, or even correct.


Adopting a cat? Well, you better not adopt from that place, because they had an FIP spike in 2006, so maybe adopt from this place. But don’t get one from THAT rescue, because they had a bad review on Yelp. Have a baby? Oh, don’t even bother then, you’ll get Toxo.

Running to the store for some dog food? Did you know that X brand is poison/ raw food is the only way to go/ raw food will kill your dog/ you must home cook/ you must never home cook?

Thinking of getting a new dog? Well, I hope you’re planning on adopting a senior dog or some sort of mutt from a reputable rescue, because anything else is totally irresponsible. Here’s a Sarah Mclachlan video to really drive it home.

Posting a picture of a dog with some stuff on his head? OFF WITH YOUR HEAD! Your dog must spend their waking hours at your feet, attending approved positive-reinforcement classes, eating internet approved high end food, or hiking (on lead, of course). Any superfluous activities meant solely for our own amusement, like dressing your dog up in humiliating costumes, is abusive.

There are so many things to remember, so much we expect of each other, that trying to just kind of muddle along and do the best you can isn’t good enough anymore. That is the downside of the internet. At some point, the information overload overwhelms your brain’s ability to assimilate it, and you just kind of shut down. For the record, I do about as well with the animals as I do with my kids, which is to say, there’s plenty to be desired, and I’m OK with that. Keep expectations low, I say.


And that is why I avoid internet message boards, which are like little crucibles of arguments just waiting to explode. People suffering from Internet Knowitallitis gravitate to those boards like a moth to flame. I’ve determined what’s important in my life and my family’s life, do my best to keep on top of important news that affects their health, and if every once in a while the dependents need to suffer through the indignity of a stupid costume in order to keep me happy, well, there’s worse things that can happen to a dog or a kid.

I don’t want to know the latest study about the long term effects of putting a wig on my dog. He’ll live. And so will all those dogs on YouTube whose owners are using their muzzles for Jenga practice.

And with that, I have to go look for more pictures of tortured dogs wearing Death Star e-collars.

Filed: Blog, Daily Life, Musings Tagged: , ,
  • OMGWTFBBQ! those aren’t RAISINS balancing precariously on your precious pups nose, are they? raisins are TEH EVIL to dogs!!!!1!!1! …. just kidding.

    thank you for this! I have been told by some KnowItAlls that I am killing my cats because I don’t feed them dry food and give them raw chicken necks for their teeth instead. they give me their know it all attitude that biscuits are BEST.

    I even avoid the topic with some vets because of The Judgement. it’s weird, because vets will praise my cat’s good health, near perfect teeth, shiny coat and long whiskers and then as soon I mention that I feed them a homemade, raw diet they get all Judgey McJudgerson and all of a sudden my cats are dying of malnutrition. then they stick metaphorical fingers in ears when I try to tell them that I don’t just chuck a bit of meat to my cats, that I work long and hard to ensure that my cats get balanced meals.

    the point I’m trying to make, in my rambling and incoherent way, is that Know-It-Allitis isn’t restricted to the interweb or to laypeople. I like your attitude Dr V because it always feels very similar to my own philosophy of “do what works best for you as long as you aren’t hurting anyone”.

  • Vonny

    I agree Dr. V. I have looked up enough things on the Internet now that I can mostly pick which sites make sense and which are just rubbish and should be ignored. Dog care is particularly problematic, so I have gone back to common sense and vet’s advice.
    Let’s keep it simple when we can.

    Nice to see Emmett’s sweet patient face again. Good dog!

  • Anonymous

    I could go on and on and on….have you also noticed that the attention span of some is……SQUIRREL!

  • Rpregulman

    I can’t believe you posted a picture of a dog forced to wear rabbit ears. Can’t you see how humiliated he is? How cruel! (-:

    • I know. I am a horrible pet owner.

  • I just really overall don’t like your article…who am I? Nobody, some body. btw.. cats cannot change their bite like dogs or people.. so dry wet, doesn’t matter, they get bad teeth.. because they can only move their jaws up or down. food sticks.. I’m a know it all. I think, really, people are lazy, and don’t like to be reminded that they should hold principles or morals to a high standard…and really don’t like to have mirrors shoved in their faces. Let’s just make nice and remember that throwing sticks for dogs is dangerous because they splinter or shoot right down their throats, into the body cavity. And stay away from rawhide, and bones… bones can lock onto the jaw and around the teeth…bad news. Try not to read about the bad things.. being less informed is easier. Ignorance is Bliss.

  • Susan Montgomery
  • Anonymous

    I want that cookie (or whatever it is) that Emmitt is balancing in the second picture! Looks yummy! ๐Ÿ™‚ And great to see Koa’s shame in wearing rabbit ears is counterbalanced by wearing a calming collar. See, you’re not *all* bad!

    • But what if I told you I replaced the calming herbs with raisins?

  • Lisa W

    I just do the best I can. I’m far from perfect but then doggies could do far worse than having me for a mom. Yeah, much to my dismay Oscar continues to bark too much. And Sophie still gets easily freaked out in new situations. But they know they are loved and they are well cared for.

  • After my cat got the snip, I was unsure how to take care of his wee bits, so I asked a forum. I was immediately inundated with information I hadn’t even asked about! Did you declaw him? (I didn’t) You shouldn’t’ve declawed him at the same time (I didn’t!)! Feed him dry food. Feed him wet food. Feed him raw food, kibble will cause his penis to shrivel up and fall off. No kibble will make his teeth fall out. If he eats kibble I’m killing him. He shouldn’t play with anything. Put paper in his litter box. Keep him out of his litter box.

    Holy crap. I was so confused, I just wanted to know if I should monitor his incision site and if I should change his litter to some Carefresh while he healed! Ultimately, I went with my gut. I let him keep using his normal litter but scooped each time, and wiped his shame when he dragged it in the litter.

    When there’s so much information at your fingertips, people often pick their favourite and the rest is bull poop.

  • Remember the good ole’ days? No cell phones? I kinda miss it ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s nice to have so much knowledge at our fingertips – but I miss the days of less knowitalls! Cheers to horrible pet owners that torture their adorable animals with holiday photos!!

  • Cathey

    Love this post! The “grand sinkhole of knowitallness” is definitely a double-edged sword – and the worst part about it all is that some of that ‘knowledge’ is wrong! I agree with you Dr. V. – one has to try to be legitimately informed and then just do the best you can.

    At the very least, the dogs wearing the wigs and capes are at least getting attention – certainly more than the poor golden that lives behind me whose owner never exercises his dog and won’t let me take him out for runs with mine because “he’s a hunter, he doesn’t need that!” Huh???!!! Your blog is like a daily dose of doggy common sense and I’m grateful for it!

  • Jeanne

    hello, my name is jeanne and…i…put bunny ears/antlers/hats…on my dog…

  • Yes the female staff member gets a big laugh every time she “forces” Pugsley or myself to wear ridiculous crap. Humans!

  • Oh how true! I know have Google search set as my home page so I’m not inundated with news!! There’s too much about there and I worry about every little thing. I would never sleep…..;-)