It seems, this week, that I’m all about proving Shark’s point that “every time I think we’ve reached peak stupid, something new comes along to prove me wrong.” Well here you go, Shark, the shot:
Bringing my adopted cat, Jameson, home with me in 2014 was one of the happiest days of my life.
Having to go back to work two days later was one of the worst.
While the rest of the country is hung up on the necessity of maternity leave — or even the newly coined “meternity” — one group continues to be overlooked when it comes to paid time off from work: new pet owners.
“Paw-ternity” leave is already a reality in the UK — the US pet-insurance provider Petplan found that nearly 5 percent of new pet owners in the UK were offered time off to care for their four-legged kids. (Not surprisingly, the UK is also light-years ahead of the US when it comes to maternity leave, offering up to 39 weeks of paid leave for new mothers.)
It’s time for the US to hop aboard the “paw-ternity” train. It’s not just because I want to stay home and cuddle on the couch with my new feline (which I do). When I adopted Jameson, he was 6 years old and had spent the previous year of his life in an animal shelter. He was suffering from several health problems after being neglected by his previous owner — and was skittish, nervous and uncertain about why he was suddenly being transported to a strange new home.
And the chaser:
Many pet experts agree that new pet owners should try their best to clear their schedule for the first few days following a new animal’s arrival. Not only can pets benefit from the comfort of being cared for by a loving parent after spending time in an animal shelter, but they require attention to be properly housebroken and trained so they don’t become a public nuisance.
Dear silly young woman who seems to think her choices should be paid for by others. If you want to stay home with your new pet, companies have a thing called “vacation days.” You might have heard of them. That’s right, you’re paid and everything. And it isn’t like you can’t plan this sort of thing out. You know, “hey, I have 10 days of vacation saved and I want a new pet – perfect, I’ll take vacation and stay home with it”. Then you can housebreak the little nipper and prevent it from becoming a public nuisance at the same time. See how that works?
What doesn’t work is this sort of demand that others take up the slack and pay your for time off just because you’ve made a choice that has absolutely nothing to do with them or your work.
But we all know the real bottom line here. The equating of pets with children gives the entrée into demanding the same sort of treatment that new mothers get. Because, you know, going to the pet store and pointing to a cat in a cage is just the same as carrying a baby for 9 months and then bearing the child. So let’s face the truth. You want time with your pet but you don’t want to spend your vacation days to do that.
What does that make you? Well mostly a spoiled and entitled child who will one day live in a ramshackle house with 100 cats, living on a pittance of Social Security (because you had difficulty holding on to work) and rail against the world for not giving you the time you demanded when you only had one.