Friday, February 05, 2010

Things: Installment 34

I read an interesting blog post this week that pointed me to a recent article from New York Magazine. The article discusses the evolution of Man's Best Friend from working dog happy to live outside in the doghouse to bed partner happy to sleep under the covers with his human companion. And this led me on a thoughtful little quest in which I explored my own animal companion relationships. Since this imaginary adventure took the better part of an afternoon, I thought it worthy of a post all its own. What are your feelings about your own furry friends?

Things About Man's Best Friends
  • I grew up in the country. We had innumerable outdoor pets all through my growing-up years. There was Sheba, the big black lab who was happy to let me take a ride on her back. There was Daisy, the mutt who wandered up and claimed us as Her People and then proceeded to give us a litter of puppies every year. There was Freddy the cat who literally scratched his ears off due to some unknown infection. There was Callie the calico who lived to the ripe old age of 20, had a knack for getting knocked up until we finally kept her out of the frey long enough to get her fixed, and who survived some kind of bite to the face that left her a drooler for the rest of her life.
  • The common thread for the pets of my childhood - they all lived outside. Sure, they received a little love every day. Some more than others, of course. I mean, we do have our favorites. But they were never allowed indoors and certainly weren't allowed to sleep with us. It wasn't for lack of trying, however. My brother & I begged for many years to have indoors pets, but our allergies were the reason we couldn't. But the relationships we had with these pets were cursory at best.
  • And then came CoCo. CoCo was a toy poodle. Poodles are hypoallergenic, you know. Man how we loved that dog. And thus begins the transition from pets at arm's length to animal companions as cuddlebugs.
  • I got my very first pet right after I moved to Dallas and got my first apartment. Naturally, I chose a cat. I've always been a Cat Person. And cats generally do better on their own while the owner is away at work, i.e. they have the convenience of the use of indoor facilities. But little did I know that the cat I chose wasn't happy on his own during the day. And so, I went searching for a playmate. And now the brood stands at two. Then I got married. I had turned him into a Cat Person too. And when we went to get a cat for my grandmother, he couldn't leave the only kitten left from the litter all by itself. Nope. He had to take her too. And now the brood stands at three. All inside, I might add.
  • Then we built a house and I always told Derek - the Dog Person - that we could under no circumstances get a dog until we had a house with a yard. Well, now we have a house with a yard. And that's how we ended up with Sweet Pea. Dear lord that dog was a HOT MESS! An abused rescue from the SPCA. When the dog is in a "special room" and you find her hiding there cowered behind the tv, that should be your cue to turn tail and run. But ohhhhhhhhhh no. I had to be the hero. "All she needs is a little TLC. I'm sure she'll come out of her shell once she's at home." Uh no. So Derek decides that Sweet Pea needs a friend. That would be the answer to her psychotic behavior. And that's how we got Dori. The Two Dog Experiment failed with spectacular colors. And Sweet Pea went to live in the country with my parents where she lived a short but happy life. Dori becomes the only dog in a house full of felines.
  • One summer evening, Derek was on the front steps watching the world go by when he noticed a cat wandering around the cul-de-sac. A beautiful Siamese. We "fostered" him for several weeks while searching for owners. We called vets and shelters in our immediate area and no one was looking for this handsome boy. Derek tried not to get attached but it was inevitable. Now we have Meeko (f/k/a Carlos b/c I thought he sounded cool with an accent).
  • To relate a bit back to the article that got me meandering down memory lane, yes, our animals sleep with us. In fact, they get locked in the bedroom with us at night. This is mostly b/c some of our critters like to get into trouble, and there's nothing worse than waking up to smashing glass in the middle of the night.
  • Dori is on a special diet. In fact, we call her the Million Dollar Dog b/c if we added up what she's cost us in the last several years, well, it would be scary. Which is why we don't. Sometimes you just make the decision that your pet is THAT important.
  • We treat all of our furry friends as children. And if you have pets of your own, you understand how that happens. B/c they really are a lot like children. They're needy, they're sassy, they don't always mind, but they give you unconditional love and endless entertainment - at the times when you need it the very most.
  • The biggest drawback to the transition from arm's length to bed partner? One day you know the relationship must end. You hope that it ends naturally and peacefully. But sometimes those sweet eyes look up at you in pain and suffering begging you to let go. I dread the day that will inevitably come. I only hope the decision isn't mine to make.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Much more interesting than what I am working on! ;-)