Clifford the Dog Misses His Family and She Doesn't Care

I give a critical animal perspective to “Clifford”, the book series for children, and talk about one book I read at the library in which it was ‘normalized’ to take a baby from its family to entertain a human being and for that human being to not care that the baby misses its family and cannot see them or be with them.

0 thoughts on “Clifford the Dog Misses His Family and She Doesn't Care

  1. I’m interested in your perspective on adopting animals. Are you against it under any circumstance? I’d love to hear your perspective (or provide a link to where you’ve discussed it).

    What about adopting stray animals who have no homes? (what I got from the video was that you would not consider getting a dog for your son in the future, under any circumstance? Or did I misunderstand?)

    Obviously dogs and cats are in a unique position compared to other captive animals in the sense that they have been cultivated, due to a variety of factors, to fit the role of household companion (or pet, or whatever you want to call it). I’m not saying that’s a good thing, but it’s the reality we’re dealing with. Do you see any option for these animals other than to be adopted by humans?

    And if it’s not the adoption but the definition as pet, plaything, source of entertainment for humans that you rightly have a problem with, how can we change those attitudes in a context where realistically, many animals are euthanized (or else are starving/freezing on the streets) if they are NOT adopted as pets, due to huge overpopulation problems in many urban areas?

    And while I agree that the concept of paying a cash amount for the ownership of another living being is in many ways sick, in a practical sense, paying for an animal (I’m talking about shelter animals here, not those bred for profit, which I completely do not support) can contribute to its own welfare by ensuring adoptive families are sincere and committed to taking on the pet, as well as that money going back into the shelters to allow them to continue their animal welfare work.

    Would love to hear your thoughts, thanks.

    1. Sandy,

      I think I would never be fundamentalist and say I’m absolutely against people becoming caretakers and friends of ‘pets’ of companions animals. My biggest problem was how Clifford was structured as a story, and the role of him as this little girl’s pet, and her lack of acknowledgment of his emotional suffering.

      I like the concept of rescuing non-human animals who need a home and adoption. I think my biggest issue are things like puppy mills, or people who raise dogs and cats to breed and sell the children of these animals. But I think it’s rather complex and contextual. For the book Clifford, though, I was more concerned with how uncritical it present how and why the dog is the little girl’s entertainment and how, in that situation, it seemed how white slaveowners would look at their black slaves and not care a bit that these human beings were suffering, being town away from their families, etc.

      Let me know if that makes sense . and thanks so much for commenting!

    2. It’s even an issue for animal shelters themselves – so many people wanting to adopt puppies and kittens, while so many adult dogs and cats need homes!

      “where realistically, many animals are euthanized (or else are starving/freezing on the streets)”

      or else are threats to endangered native species of small animals, especially on islands where the native species did not evolve to try to escape wild dogs and wild cats.

  2. Absolutely, and I don’t disagree with your analysis of the book at all. I was talking about animal adoptions in general, unrelated to the main topic of your post.

    I really appreciate your blog.

  3. Hi, I really like your blog! And I have question that I’ve been thinking about and it sort of relates to Clifford types of books. It might seem way over the top, but what do you think about stuffed animals? (I work at a toy store so I stare at them all day).

    Stuffed animals literally objectify animals into things which are silent, still, non-emotional, non-pooping/peeing, always cuddly and available to entertain the human, never a nuisance, never messy. Something which can be used and thrown away when it gets old or broken. Often children attach people-personalities to stuffed animals, valuing the “animal” object for its constructed human qualities, not fulling recognizing that it is a caricature of a living being.

    Do you think stuffed animals give children a bad message about animals? Similar to the way the Clifford book attaches a human servant like personality to the dog? Or maybe it could be the opposite. The stuffed animal could be used as a teaching tool to help young children learn to appreciate and respect animals without the use of “pets” or zoos or other captive animals.

    Or do you think am I reading way too far into this? It’s just been something I’ve been mulling over for a while.

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