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Topic: Pets (09/13/04)
TITLE: A Rodent's Rant
By Melanie Kerr
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And before you say, "Isn't he cute?" you should know some things about me.
I am not cute! I am a rodent. I may not be a big ugly rat or a furry little mouse but I am still a rodent. It's all about perspective, lady! If I were running about your house and raiding your larder, you can bet I wouldn't be in a cage like this with a multi-coloured plastic wheel and a water bottle. We both know, lady, I would have my tail stuck in a mousetrap, or maybe even my neck.
This is not supposed to be how my life is. I am supposed to be in some desert, down some hole in the sand, dozing in the heat of the day. I am supposed to be surrounded by family. Soft warm bodies close to mine. I am supposed to be outside at night, bathed in moonlight, foraging for food, dodging owls and eagles.
Cages! You would be the first to complain if someone stuck you in one. I have seen it all looking out of the window of the pet shop through my bars. The placards you wave and the protests you make. Maybe I can't read what is on the banner, but I know that you value freedom. You value it so much for yourself, but what about the freedom of others?
You think that because you are bigger than me that gives you the right to dictate how I should live. Just because you are more powerful than me does that give you the right to subdue me? You don't know what's best for me. You may think you are the pinnacle of God's creation but don't forget that you are accountable for how you treat me. I might not have a soul, and that's debatable, but God cares for me too you know. I may not be a sparrow, but I am one of his little creatures.
I shouldn't be surprised. I see you do much worse things to your own species. I see the homeless man that sleeps in the doorway of the pet shop. I see the looks of disgust on some of your faces as you pass him by. I see the man in the posh suit, clutching the wallet stuffed full of money. He looks the other way when the lady with the money box, collecting for neglected children in poorer countries, rattles it in his ear. I hear the way you speak to one another. Even rats display better manners. If you don't know how to show respect to your own kind, what chance do the rest of us have?
I guess I shouldn't complain. At least I have lots of dry sawdust to dig around in and plenty of food to eat.
Lady, if I were you, I wouldn't put your hand in my cage. I just might bite it. I don't need your cuddles. I don't want to be stroked. I just want some respect. Is that too much to ask for?