Pet Owner or Pet Guardian? Which One are You?

If you’re pet owner, how do you define your animals? As a possession or a family member?  The animal rights movement wants people to consider any living being as more than a piece of property. Unfortunately, current law considers animals hold no more value than a chair.

So what’s in a word?  Well, when it comes to animal welfare issues — apparently a lot!  

IDA (In Defense of Animals) is trying to promote the paradigm shift from “pet owner” to “pet guardian.”  It’s a simple idea, really.  And actually, not all that new. 

Words affect thoughts and attitudes. By changing the term “pet owner” to “pet guardian”, you are making the statement that your pet is a living, breathing, sentient creature who is worth more to you than an easily replaced object.

IDA wants you to take the Guardian Pledge.  Will you commit to refer to yourself and others as animal guardians, rather than owners? 

Why not go beyond that and get your local government officials to make the change from pet owner to pet guardian?  Contact IDA for their assistance at

Governments already making the change include:

  • Beverly Hills, CA
  • San Jose, CA
  • Imperial Beach, CA
  • Santa Clara County, CA
  • Albany, CA
  • Sebastopol, CA
  • Marin County, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • West Hollywood, CA
  • Berkeley, CA
  • Bloomington, IN
  • St. Louis, MO
  • Wanaque, NJ
  • Woodstock, NY
  • Amherst, MA
  • Menomonee Falls, WI
  • Sherwood, AR
  • Boulder, CO
  • Windsor, Ontario Canada

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) offers writing and speaking tips for the classroom on their website.  One of them is “Never refer to an animal with an inanimate pronoun (it; which; that).”

PETA takes language a step further by advising the substitution of “pet” with “animal companion.” 

Think about it.  Don’t you kind of feel differently already?

Flickr: Nicki Varkevisser


Bonnie C.
.4 years ago

This is just another example of people not understanding what is really going on. This is not a feel-good law - it has real consequences that people do not understand, very bad consequences. We call these "unintended consequences," but the consequences are actually intended, by people who want to take all our animals away from us because they are vegans who do not believe people should own animals or eat meat. They are laughing up their sleeves at how easily people can be led to believe in ideas and laws that will hurt them and their animals. The word "Guardian" already has an established legal meaning for people, and if made law for pets it would be applied using the human meaning, not some touchy-feely meaning that naiive do-gooders would like to see applied to pets. For the full explanation, please see my article at

Val M.
Val M4 years ago

PS I use the word "friend" for my animal companions

Val M.
Val M4 years ago


Deb E.
Deb E4 years ago

Guardians ... they of me and I of them

Carol Cowbrough
Carol C7 years ago

Hope so! I think of my cat as my child anyway.

Past Member
Past Member 7 years ago

I did what happen to it ?????

Past Member
Past Member 7 years ago

My beloved dogs are my children God blessed me with there love and companionship to care for them till they leave this earth."

Sioux D.
Animae C7 years ago

i am my Animals' parent, they are my children.
Pledge taken anyway.

Pat C.
Pat Coetzer7 years ago

My animals are very important to me and I love them with all my heart. They are always there for me and I am always there for them. We are all family as it should be. To say animals are of no more worth than a chair can only come from an idiot without any true feelings of life. Shame on those of you who can think that way. Your life must be so sad and empty!!!!

Koko B.
Koko B.7 years ago

If anything, my cat owns ME. I like to think of us as symbiots, neither wholly able to exist without the other. Because it's true: he takes care of me, too. When I am unwell and confined to bed, he is there. When I am handing out kitty treats, he is there too. He gets a clean pan, the best food I can afford, and trips to the vet. I get a nonjudgmental companion and whose loyalty is beyond price. Seems like a hell of a deal.