Posts Tagged ‘pet’


When she was young, my daughter Rachael had a pet hamster. She named him Wilbur. She would set Wilbur beside her while she watched cartoons on TV and play with him during the commercials. That is, if he didn’t sneak off while she wasn’t paying attention.

Now, hamsters are not known for their longevity. One day Rachael brought Wilbur to me and said something was wrong with him. He was stiff, cold and not breathing.

“Honey, I’m afraid Wilbur is dead.” I said softly.

“No, he isn’t!” she protested.

“I’m pretty sure he is.” I replied.

“No, we have to take him to the doctor, she cried.

So we took him to a veterinarian.

The vet broke the news to Rachael. “Rachael, Your father is correct. It was Wilbur’s time to go, and he is no longer with us.” Then he said to me, “That’ll be $10 for the visit.”

Amid Rachael’s sobbing and disbelief, I asked, “You’re absolutely sure he’s gone?”

“Well, just a minute,” he said, and brought in a calico tabby. The cat licked Wilbur from head to toe, then lowered her head and gave a soft, “meow.” The vet then brought in a Golden Retriever. The dog sniffed Wilbur, then lowered his head and gave a soft, “woof.” “That’s conclusive, said the vet. “He’s definitely dead,” and added, “that will be $250 for the visit.”

“Now wait a minute,” I said, “It was only a $10 visit a minute ago.”

“Well, yes,” said the vet. “That was before you ordered the cat scan and the lab test.”



   Now, I’m not an Animal Hater. But I’m no Animal Lover, either. I guess you could say I’m “animal apathetic.” That is to say, I am not really concerned about or involved in the life of the critters. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe there is a place for animals in this world — and it’s right next to the mashed potatoes.

   When my kids were in elementary school, my wife mentioned how she had a dog when she was young, and how much she enjoyed the dog. I knew what was coming next…. So, being the scientific-minded person that I am, I quickly threw together two lists. One list was the benefits of having a dog. The other list was the burdens of having a dog.

On the POSITIVES side:

  • The kids would like to have a dog
  • Home protection

And that’s it for the positive aspects of owning a dog.


Now for the NEGATIVES:

  • Someone has to feed the dog
  • Dog food costs money
  • Someone has to bathe the dog
  • Someone has to walk the dog
  • Someone has to clean up after the dog
  • I am that SOMEONE
  • Dogs chew stuff up
  • Dogs have to be let in and out
  • Dogs need to be fenced (in neighborhoods)
  • Fences cost money
  • Dogs bark all night
  • Dogs fart
  • Dogs bark and fart all night
  • Dogs pee in the floor
  • Dogs pee on your carpet
  • Dogs pee on your sofa
  • Dog pee stinks
  • Dogs dig holes where I mow
  • Dogs poop where I mow
  • Dogs poop where I don’t mow
  • Dog poop stinks
  • And the list goes on…

  • It’s hard to take a dog on vacation
  • You have to arrange care when you go out of town
  • No one wants to watch your dog
  • Dogs don’t help with the rent


   …So, a few weeks later, my wife comes home from a visit to her dad’s, and guess what she’s hauling? – A live, Australian Shepherd. This dog did everything on the “bad” list from the minute his feet hit the ground. He dug holes, tore up the yard, chewed the posts off our deck, tore a hole in the siding, tore the casing off the back door, and constantly jumped the fence. Now, he wasn’t a mean dog; he was just a puppy doing the things puppies do. But he was a two-foot tall puppy, all muscle and over-excitement. He jumped on our neighbor with muddy paws, ruining her Sunday dress. Later, he scratched and bit a neighbor’s child while ‘playing.’ After that, we had to give him away.

   Several years later, my father-in-law was over for dinner, and the subject of dogs came up. I recalled that dog and that Clifford had been the one to give us the dog.

“Cliff, I never thanked you for the dog you gave us, did I?” I asked.

“No, I don’t believe you ever did,” he replied.

“… and I never will.” I told him.

Morning Breath

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