Do you name the animals in your backyard?

If you follow me on Twitter, or are one of my coworkers, or my Ma, you would know that I would love to have a dog. Most National Parks do not allow seasonal rangers to have pets. I can understand why; with so many allergies, people not cleaning up after them, and being placed into housing with strangers every season. I would be willing to pay extra for housing if I could have one though!

Pet: any domesticated or tamed animal that is kept as a companion and cared for affectionately.
Domesticate: to train or adapt (an animal or plant) to live in a human environment and be of use to humans.
Habituate: to accustom by frequent repetition or prolonged exposure.

Let me explain the never-ending loop of thought process I go through when thinking about pets and wild animals.
I get attached easily to animals. I have conversations with them; I make ultimatums with spiders and I explain to squirrels why I can’t give them food. When I see the same animals in my backyard  every day, I create a relationship with them. When I was living in Virginia, I wasn’t working or living in a park, every afternoon I had an apple and peanut butter. Afterwards I would through the apple core outside to the awaiting Mockingbird. He seemed to hang out near our house, and say hello every morning when we went outside. He would tease us when we were doing yard work. I never named him, but I got use to him, and expected him to be out there every day. Now is creating that relationship bad? I don’t think so when it’s in my own backyard.

I feel differently with the animals in National Parks. I still have affection for them. I still talk with them (Mr. Bison, I mean you no harm…. I just need to get to my car). However, I still remember that these are wild animals, and I am visiting their home. I don’t like giving them pet names, or even referring to them as pets. I feel like that gives the impression that the animals are tame, or domesticated. The impression that you can walk up to these animals and touch them, feed them, or try to put your kids on them. I feel like it takes away some of their wildness that makes them so beautiful. Sure, some of the animals have been habituated to having humans around, but I still don’t try to take my relationship with them farther.

What do you think? Am I just being a little too OCD? Or does this make sense to some of you? Where are the boundaries or lines of how we interact with animals in our life?



3 thoughts on “Do you name the animals in your backyard?

  1. Really enjoyed the insite and thought put into differences between domesticated and non domesticated animals. I wish everyone could realize that there are such huge differences. When we owned the campground near Custer State Park in South Dakota, we would take our family members who came to visit through the park. We would see, almost every single time, people feeding the prairie dogs, while ignoring the signs stating NOT to do so. They would also try to get closer to the bison (REALLY???) for a better picture!!! Crazy!!


  2. The wild animals at national parks should be left as wild as it is possible for them to be within the confines of a park. Befriending wild animals makes it harder for them to survive with their own kind, since they grow reliant on humans for survival. And it takes away from the purpose of visitors coming to see these creatures in their natural habitat. Is the guideline about rangers not having pets simply because of the other rangers or also because of the wild animals?


    1. I think its probably a little bit of both; plus where dogs can go is very limited in National Parks, even for rangers! I think a big issue for most parks is the people in the past who never cleaned up after their pets or trained them properly.


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