When asked about how he views his pets, Glendora High School’s beloved Patrick Hart joked that he views his pets as “utilities for entertainment.”
It might be a surprise to some students that Hart has little attachment to his pets.
While other teachers may have their dogs or pets roaming around in their house while they teach their zoom classes— sometimes even completely “Zoom bombing”— Hart doesn’t face this problem. Hart’s two golden retrievers, which he refers to as his two old men due to their age, don’t even live inside with him.
“My pets are outside and they have a job to do,” he explains. “Their job is to protect my home and bark when people come up.”
Others may wonder where Hart, a charismatic and friendly teacher, developed this indifference towards his pets. How can such a charismatic and friendly teacher like Hart feel so indifferent towards his pets? Hart believes that his apathetic attitude towards his dogs can be explained by his family’s past relationship to animals.
He explains his mother’s background of growing up in a Minnesotan farm influencing how “she saw animals was as chores and work.” This differs drastically from the way some pet-owners view their pets as equal to humans.
Hart takes after his mother in this way. Although Hart himself has a lack of interest in his pets, the Harts’ two golden retrievers still bring joy to their family in different ways.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, pets all around the world have received much more attention from their owners as many adults have needed to work from home. Sharing how his family has benefitted from socializing with their dogs, Hart admitted he’s gotten to take his dogs out for walks with his family and has enjoyed watching his 7-year-old daughter ride on their dogs’ backs.
Even though Mr. Hart’s feelings for his pets are different from most teachers, he and many others around the world still find (although small) comfort and companionship through interacting with family and pets during tough times like these.