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Pets

March 10, 2009

I’m back! Here’s a short, light post while I gather my thoughts.

I wonder how pets deal with transition. Taking hormones is like going through puberty, so they should keep recognizing the transitioning person if ze stayed at home, gradually changing. But what if I manage to move out when I start T, and I only visit occasionally? Will my dog still know who I am? Plus, getting hir used to my new name would be tough. How did you all deal with your pets?

PS: if you’re near Hampshire College in Amherst, MA (US), in April, you might be interested in a conference that Helyx is working on: “Want to explore the intersection of queer identity, reproductive justice, sexuality and gender?” More info here.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. March 10, 2009 9:20 am

    I had been wondering if my cats noticed a different smell. Our odor changes with hormones so I thought that it might have an impact. I haven’t noticed anything so maybe they don’t notice since the change is so gradual.

  2. March 10, 2009 10:12 am

    Not something I’ve had to worry about with my pets, but I’m curious as to whether you think your dog really knows all that much about your name in the first place. Ours has enough trouble recognizing his own name–we probably confuse him by often calling him “buddy” (something I tend to do with all animals), and now he’s somewhat more likely to respond to “Hey, buddy” from another room than “Hey, Leo.”

    That said, while it’s certainly true that animals (dogs especially) respond a lot to smells and things like a tone of voice, they also rely a lot on body language and habits, which may or may not change with transition.

  3. March 10, 2009 9:30 pm

    I don’t believe my dog knows what names are; but if someone tells hir “go get [female name]” ze’ll come to me. Ze wouldn’t come if my new name were used.

    I was about to say that animals are so different from humans in that they rely on physical cues that they’re used to; but humans aren’t so different. It’s just that, for us, changes are so tied up with thoughts and expectations that we find certain things harder to accept. My dog won’t be worried or angry or scared because of my transition!

  4. March 11, 2009 1:17 am

    we have a neighborhood cat that visits, well used to visit, once a week. he really liked me in the beginning of my transition, but as of several months ago he got really nasty – biting and scratching me. i thought he was rabid, but he’s not. i think he’s noticed my changing smell.

  5. March 11, 2009 8:01 am

    Ah, I see. In that case, couldn’t your dog just be retrained to recognize your new name? It sounds like a matter of figuring out a “new” obedience command. (We recently had to teach Leo “off” for getting down from the bed, because we realized “get down” sounded too much like “lie down,” which is one he already knew.)

    • traslúcido permalink*
      March 11, 2009 10:45 am

      That’ll probably work :)

  6. joshua permalink
    March 12, 2009 9:24 pm

    huh, i didn’t even think about that when i started hormones… but my parents’ dog, who i’ve never lived with, still knows exactly who i am. and he’s blind, so he somehow still recognizes me despite the different smell and voice.

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