Pets Sioux City Now - Dog Blog - Getting rid of "it"

Published on November 2nd, 2015 | by Noah's Hope -- Lita Shulenberger


Noah’s Hope: Getting rid of ‘it’

Have you ever run into someone you haven’t seen for a while and said something like this:

“Hi Sally, it’s good to see you! Where is your husband?”

Sally replies, “Oh, I got rid of it.” 

Does that sound weird? Of course it does, no one would call their spouse “it.” So why do people think nothing of calling a dog “it,” as if he or she is an object?

Grammar-wise, both a husband and a dog are nouns, therefore, when speaking of a living being, the personal pronouns he or she would be used. If we don’t know the sex of a dog it’s natural to call “it” an “it,” but what about the person who owns the dog? Why do they do it?

Mostly, this is a rhetorical question. People do this out of habit or because so many rules of the English language have changed and nobody pays attention anymore as the terminology becomes second nature.

In some cases, however, the reason for this might be psychological and most people aren’t even aware of it. If you listen closely to conversations about a dog that is new, healthy and happy, you will notice the use of the pronouns he or she. The use of “it” comes into the conversation if the dog is difficult, sick or old. Unconsciously we distance ourselves from the dog in anticipation of losing it or in some cases, “getting rid of it” or “putting it down.” By doing this we become emotionally detached. The dog becomes an object, making it easier for us to make difficult decisions without grief or guilt, but we also rob ourselves of the joys that come with loving without reservations.

Even if we aren’t aware of distancing ourselves this way, our furry friends are certainly aware of it. Dogs are incredibly sensitive to our emotions and as we pull away from them, they instinctively pull in closer to us. Their whole world revolves around us and they love us unconditionally, even if we are old, sick, or difficult.

Is there a solution to this dilemma? Yes, but it’s not an easy one.  Dogs live their whole lives loving without reservation with wagging tails, excited barking and happy dances. Maybe we should strive to be more like them.

William W. Purkey said it best: “You’ve gotta dance like no one is watching, sing like nobody is listening, and love like you’re never going to get hurt.”

Noah’s Hope Animal Rescue (and Thrift Store)
2601 Myrtle St.
Sioux City, IA 51103


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Noah’s Hope Animal Rescue is an all-volunteer, 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation. We rescue the underdogs: the old, the sick and injured, the used-up by breeders, the forsaken and misunderstood. We nurse them, bring them back from the brink, and give them another chance. We believe they make the very best pets because somehow, they understand and are grateful. 

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About the Author

Lita Shulenberger is a volunteer for Noah’s Hope. She’s fostered 85 dogs in the last 2 years. Quote: “I know that somewhere in the distant past I wanted to be a veterinarian. At the time I would have thought that anyone who lets their life go to the dogs like THIS was crazy. Well, it turns out I AM crazy, and I like it."

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