Fellow Creatures: Animals Aren't It

 I have a new post over at my Psychology Today blog, Fellow Creatures.

Photo: Alo├»s Mobax/Pexels

By Zazie Todd, PhD

The piece looks at the pronouns we use for animals and how our relationship with those animals affects the choices we make. Some style guides require writers to use it to refer to animals, but increasingly pet owners feel that animals aren't it. The piece also includes quotes from David Grimm, Alexandra Horowitz, and Aislinn Hunter.

Check it out here: Animals Aren't It: Pets, Pronouns, and Choices.

Zazie Todd, PhD, is the author of Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy. She is the founder of the popular blog Companion Animal Psychology, where she writes about everything from training methods to the human-canine relationship. She also writes a column for Psychology Today and has received the prestigious Captain Haggerty Award for Best Training Article in 2017. Todd lives in Maple Ridge, BC, with her husband and two cats.

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  1. Language matters. As a writer and editor I observe the rules, but I've bent a few in relation to animals and pronouns especially. In English grammar, the pronoun “who” is reserved for humans, “not objects”, as the rule books read. But years ago I began using “who” when referring to animals as well. Animals are not objects, they are sentient beings, and any spellcheck or grammar check or editor can try to correct me, but that’s one I won’t even discuss. It’s a small change, and most people may not even notice or understand, but I know its meaning, and it’s important to me to stand my ground on that one.


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