I had a tough discussion a few years ago about whether we were animal owners or guardians. During a networking event, I was harshly schooled by a lawyer who asserted that people own animals. She pointed out that the law considers animals as goods, property, possessions. Living, breathing beings, but still property.

In our conversation, I explained how I connect telepathically with animals.  From that, people are clearer about their animal’s point of view. In a way, I give the animal a voice in their relationship. Which opens possibilities for improving the relationship and even the animal’s physical health.

I was shocked by her vehemence that listening to their preferences was wrong; they were property.

Legally, this lawyer was correct – we own our animals.

The Cornell Law School, defines legal ownership as “the legal right to use, possess, and give away a thing. Ownership can be tangible such as personal property and land, or it can be of intangible things such as intellectual property rights.”

But it sure doesn’t come close to describing the relationship most of us have with our animals.

Owner or guardian? I choose “guardian”

I use the word guardian, which more accurately describes my relationship with my animals. Guardians care for and make good decisions for their animals. They want the best for them.

These days, most of us unabashedly declare that our animals are part of the family. Some of us even have grand-dogs and grand-cats.

We love them, and maybe feel a soul connection with them. We find a way to delight in their peculiarities. Feeling their love for us never gets old. We look for ways to help them with anxiety and aggressiveness. And when they start to decline physically, we feel deeply upset and do what we can to keep them healthy.

So, on a relationship level, we do NOT treat them as property. To us, they are living, breathing non-human beings. With their own personalities, preferences and peculiarities. That’s why I use “guardian” rather than “owner.”

What words do you use to describe your relationship?

Read my blog, From Animal Master to Animal Mentor