Wesley J. Smith at First Things has a great post concerning proposed legislation to offer tax deductions for your pets and for the expense of pet ownership. Ostensibly, the reasoning behind the bill is to help pet owners afford their pets during a down economy, thereby not abandoning them (and thus causing further expense for animal shelters, etc). Smith rightly frames the issue as one of human exceptionalism, and he rightly calls for a clear line to be maintained between children and pets. Offering the same deductions for your pets as for your children inevitably sends the wrong message–that the dog really is a member of the family in the same sense as the child. Only human beings are created in the image of God. And families are comprised of parents and children.