OK, here’s the thing. I’m a self-admitted neat freak. I like my environments to be good smelling and my belongings to be unscathed.

For these reasons (primarily), I don’t like your pet. Chances are it slobbers/sheds/scratches/sniffs/stinks. It also likely barks incessantly at an ear-splitting decibel/destroys the furniture/nestles my crotch uninvited.

You know why it does these things? Because it’s an ANIMAL! It was getting along in life just fine before you started packing it in your purse to go shopping or taking it along as an accessory to brunch. Did you ask Fido if he even likes that restaurant? I’m pretty sure his ideal Sunday morning activity is napping in a sunny spot in the den or chasing squirrels in the yard. He is not interested in your mimosas and eggs Benedict!

Also, if you need an “emotional support” peacock in order to catch a flight, maybe you should just stay home. At what point did my desire (and, in some cases, health requirements) to fly, go grocery shopping or grab a coffee exclusively with humans become less important than your need to be accompanied by a furry companion at all times? You have no idea if I have a severe allergy. You don’t know if I just spent $500 on my jeans that look thoroughly lickable to your little buddy. Imagine if I witnessed my neighbor’s Rottweiler eat my Chihuahua at an impressionable young age. (For those keeping score at home: I don’t, I wouldn’t and I didn’t.)

It shouldn’t matter, though, because I am a human being. This is not a “petocracy.”

So when you show me your pet portraits or tell me a “cute” story that inevitably involves your “fur baby” (gag!) going to the bathroom in the wrong spot/time/way, do not expect me to go all gooey. Frankly, that is about the surest way to send me into a coma. At the very least, I’m stepping away from the conversation to do something more interesting, like cementing my driveway.

While we’re on the subject of your dog or cat that will sooner or later relieve itself somewhere it shouldn’t – because it’s an ANIMAL – let me enlighten you. Stooping down to pick up a pile of poo, bagging it and walking down the street swinging that thin blue bag of poo is not a good look.

I know you’re reading this practically trembling with the need to tell me that your particular dog doesn’t shed or bark or poop. Or your kitty doesn’t have claws and has the cleanest litter box in all the powder rooms in the land. And if only I met your furry friend, I’d change my mind.

That’s where you’re wrong. You’re too close to the situation. Pets smell bad and destroy nice things and defecate in unfortunate places. Because they’re ANIMALS who should not be sniffing around my local produce section, wagging their tales among the breakables in a people store, space-hogging leg room on airplanes or waiting in line for a vanilla latte.

Let me take a moment here to clarify: It’s not the pets, per se, that I have a beef with. In fact, I have a particularly strong soft spot for pandas and bulldogs. It’s the “owners” I resent who expect me to interact with their four-legged pals as if they’re humans. Like most rational-thinking people, I’m against animal cruelty, but assigning human traits and emotions to dogs, cats, birds, turtles — what have you — takes things just a bit too far.

Schlepping the little fur ball around in a baby carriage is not dignified and it’s out of control. Public spaces are meant for human beings — we should be able to go out without fear of having an allergic reaction, getting bitten or stepping in some mess.

Let the creatures run wild in nature. Let them be the animals they were intended to be.