Can't Rent me Love:
One Woman's Battle Against Pet Fads


Humans are hardwired to go jelly-kneed around creatures with kinderschema—infant traits like big eyes, big head, and small body. Can we resist it?

One day I decided to foster a dog.

“Foster,” I told the animal shelter, “not adopt.”

Pets in Need, the shelter, usually didn’t foster out their animals. Possibly they saw fostering as a weakness of character, as a sign of someone unwilling to commit. This was true in my case, but I still feigned dismay at their rules, and they agreed to bend them. They thought they saw a human who might fall in love.

But I was no dummy when it came to human susceptibility to animal cuteness. I had two cats that milked this vulnerability, and I had fostered before: a beagle recently freed from a medical research lab (nicknamed a freegle). He’d lived with me for a month, during which time I became one of those new mothers who transmogrifies from a sensible person into someone who babbles baby talk.
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