Being a science major kind of student there's a lot of categorizing. Okay so I'm a psychology major so it's not so much categorizing acids and bases in chemistry or mammals and what not in biology as it it categorizing deeper things like relationships we have with various things. Which is weird to me as i don't terribly appreciate or share the innate desire to pigeonhole everything into one little category and say that's all it is and it is nothing more. That's not kosher to me, never has been.
So this semester I'm taking a class on human - animal interactions, it's what I'm interested in and it related to everything i do. Really, i work in the pet industry and i play dog sports. Besides school that's all i do, pretty interesting 20 year old aren't i? Anyways, in class we discussed pets of course and it came up in discussion that animals that are used in competitions cannot be considered pets. The insistence she had that it had to be one or the other and not both really irked me, unfortunately I'm not that kid that shouts out disagreeing with people in class. I'm rather shy, it's unfortunate. I am very sure that there is little chance of anyone besides me in that class having participated on a competitive level in dog sports (horse sports maybe, but that's a whole different kettle of fish that i have never played in).
Now let's think about this specifically for dog sports as that's what i do and what most who read this do. Does it have to be pet OR performance? A or B, yes or no, fill in only one circle or the scantron of life will explode?
However out of the 168 hours there are in a week, my dog is only doing sports related things maybe 6 hours on average. That means the other 162 hours of the week she is sleeping on the couch or bed or in my arms, hanging out with me on my lap while i do homework, waiting for me to come home from school or work, or playing with me. That's about 96.5% of the time, which is an outstanding majority of time in a week that she is doing ordinary pet like stuff. It's the pet stuff that we do and the time we simply spend being together that i think helps our success in sport, pet and performance do not have to be separate. Of course my experience is with my own dog but from chatting with and observing many in my club and even people from elsewhere, the majority of people seem to follow along that it's not pet OR performance but that they go hand in hand.