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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Pets (09/13/04)

TITLE: PETMANIA
By Roger Crane
09/13/04

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What is it about humans that we love to keep pets? Everyone has his or her favorite--dogs, cats, birds, fish, whatever--but nearly everyone at some time has had at least one pet. Many people get all obsessed over just one type of animal, and just one member of a species (not just cats, but Siamese! ). Still, even a lowly hamster will do for the kid who has got to have something to call her very own pet.

I have had my share of pets. Lots of dogs, cats, birds, and even fish and rats. We almost adopted a skunk once--they say they will not spray you if they grow up with you--but I lost my nerve at the last minute. At the present time, my wife and I have only two cats and a parrot, and that is more than enough. It is truly amazing what we people will put up with in order to keep pets. The parrot is my wife’s, and is called “Joey Bell,” sharing the last name of her family. Now, Joey Bell does not particularly like me. You could say she tolerates me. More so when I give her tasty snacks. The rest of the time, she is imperious and will not tolerate being ignored. I’d like to get one of those devices which tests decibels of sound. I’m sure she could break it! All I know is we sure do shout a lot--my wife and I--and that’s from only about twenty feet apart! And we’re not mad.

Our cats are totally insane. Sometimes, to tell you the truth, I don’t know whether they are our pets, or we are theirs. Take Pepper, my ordinary, garden variety tabby. When she wants to get up on your lap and be petted, no book, cup of coffee, remote, or anything else is going to stop her. But, if you chance to try petting her when she is reclining on the couch or the floor, she will have none of it. If the definition of servant is one who breaks his back caring for the needs of others, then we are definitely the servants of our pets! I can’t see any other, logical, reason for our relationship. Yet, there it is. Of our own free will we got these animals.

And, we are the responsible type. I heard the other day that cats may live for as much as fifteen years. A cold shiver ran down my spine as I contemplated having these adorable cats around for twelve more years. Of course, with my luck, these two would outdo the statistic and make a run on twenty years!

But, I was saying that humans love to keep pets, despite all good reasons for not having them. Is it that we just need someone to talk to sometimes? I’ve noticed that people spend a lot of time talking to their animals, and I’m not talking about the geriatric group. Of course, I never do that! My wife says I do, but I think she’s hearing things. Sometimes I hear her carrying on a conversation in an adjoining room, and I holler, “Are you talking to me?” “No,” she yells back. She is talking to Joey. (Well, at least she doesn’t mind admitting it.)

Frankly, I think Adam talked to the animals too. More after the “Garden” episode than before. I have it on good authority that Eve certainly talked to some of the animals, and that afterwards she wished she hadn’t. But, if you want my best guess as to why we all love the animals so much that we want to board them in our homes, I would say that it started in the Garden--when Adam went around showing everyone how smart he was, giving them all names. You know how it is; once you name an animal, you’re stuck with it. And, look at Noah. He didn’t help matters by bringing the whole “kit and caboodle” into the Ark with his family.

So, I guess it’s not so bad. My litter box can’t compare with what the Ark probably smelled like after forty days! Even though my puddy-cats seem to be handicapped when it comes to covering over those indelicate hmmm...well, you know. That’s where dogs have a distinct advantage, with their ability to do the back kick. Quite effective. In fact, maybe I’ll go out to the shelter next weekend and pick one out.


Member Comments
Member Date
darlene hight09/20/04
Yes we are the interesting breed aren't we? Nice piece!
Teresa Lee Rainey09/20/04
It can be a daily drama when we are pets to our pets. And we keep begging for more...we are a strange breed. Well told!
Melanie Kerr 09/20/04
Good account of pets, pet keepers and pet keeping. Our cat lasted for fifteen years.
Corinne Smelker09/20/04
My two favorite lines:

I have it on good authority that Eve certainly talked to some of the animals, and that afterwards she wished she hadn’t.

I would say that it started in the Garden--when Adam went around showing everyone how smart he was, giving them all names. You know how it is; once you name an animal, you’re stuck with it.

Good points and well made!
Marina Rojas09/20/04
This was a good discussion of the pet-titude in your household. I liked the way the article came off as someone talking to himself (no, I do not hear voices myself LOL).

But, I liked the clear-cut down to earth style of this story telling.

Pam Williams09/22/04
You say that you don't know whether they are the pets or we are their pets -- Personally, I think we are the pets. I enjoyed reading your article.
WENDY DECKER09/23/04
Nice piece and it kept my attention.