Now that we are well into the 21st century, forecasts uttered decades ago seem to have become reality. The world population
explodes toward seven billion. And most people live in huge cities, thanks to modern technology.
Transporting all of us; supplying people with food and clothing; keeping us warm when it's cold and cool when it's warm; and
providing us with electricity for our ever-increasing demands for soap operas, video games, news broadcasts, music, and spectator
sports require enormous amounts of energy. This energy is supplied largely by finite resources.
Fortunately, an answer to curbing the population explosion has been found right here in California. Most important, this solution
has an enormous effect on the veterinary profession.
The April 2006 issue of National Geographic explains it all. The last article, "Where Dogs Have Their Day," is about San Francisco and its citizens and their dogs.
Now I have heard all about dog astrologers, dog masseurs, dog portrait artists, dog boutiques, and dog fashion designers.
But until I read this article, I didn't realize it was all so prevalent. I didn't know that there were outdoor cafés that
cater to the "young, single doggie crowd." And I didn't know that specialty stores offer birthday cakes and customized treats
for poochie. However, the most striking part of this article was in the last paragraph: "So many trends that begin in California
seem silly at first, dissonant notes in the national chorus. But then they wash over the rest of the country, and what seemed
laughable becomes inescapable."
What does this have to do with the population explosion? The article tells us that San Francisco has the lowest ratio of children
to adults of any major U.S. city. This makes me wonder if our anthropomorphism of our pets may be curbing our innate desire
to procreate. This might save the world if it spreads. And it will ensure prosperity for our profession.
You see, I have a great idea! If dogs are becoming our children, they can have pets too. I can foresee a new veterinary specialty:
Practice limited to pets' pets.
There are those who, not having my positive attitude, are concerned that this increasing trend to humanize pets will soon
create a huge malpractice and litigious morass that will adversely affect the prosperity of the profession. No problem! Concerned
future graduates can limit their practices to pets' pets—or to food animals.
Robert M. Miller, DVM, is an author and a cartoonist, speaker, and Veterinary Medicine Practitioner Advisory Board member from Thousand Oaks, Calif. His thoughts in "Mind Over Miller" are drawn from 32 years
as a mixed-animal practitioner. Visit his Web site at
Robert M. Miller