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Those who enjoy the ownership of pets often comment that they are as much a part of the family as children. In fact, if you ask many of them, they will refer to cats, dogs and other pets as their babies.

Because I’m not an expert on the presence or absence of souls, I cannot attest to whether or not pets have souls. The only reason I mention this is because we know for certain that pets have feelings and are capable of showing remorse, sympathy or affection.

My daughter recently disclosed the comments of her local vet who is treating her mini donkey for some sort of disease. Apparently, the disease is serious enough to warrant a specialist, in addition to other veterinary care. But when my daughter expressed concern for the donkey, her vet responded, “He’s only a donkey.” Wow.

For those who want to suggest that donkeys have no particular purpose or justification, I would respond, “What household tasks does your Siamese, toucan or lizard perform?” This little guy whom we’ll call JJ, is a treasured member of the family and is treated accordingly.

If you are a vet inclined to suggest, “He’s only a donkey,” what animals justify your obvious elite status? And what good does JJ need to fulfill in this family other than being a sweet little critter who brings enjoyment to adults and kids in the family.

On my daughter’s behalf, I issue this objection to the cruelty imposed by the vet who dismisses JJ as well as the copious family members or acquaintances who might suggest that JJ is worthless because he doesn’t do any sort of job. Save your commentary. What do the rest of the animals tended by the vet contribute to the greater good?

We don’t know if JJ has a soul or not, just as we don’t know if he is able to sense an air of disregard delivered by the vet. So let’s treat our animals with kindness, regardless of size, species or social status. This is a sweet little guy who means quite a bit to a select few people who mean a great deal to me. Shalom.

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