May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day -- and Don't Buy a Pet

To pet or not to pet. That is the question. Ladies and gentleman, I haven’t written my blog for months and months -- and for good reason. I have been pondering the age-old question that man has faced since the beginning of time. Should I buy a pet or live pet-free? Fear not, I have an answer for you, and that too on Mother's Day.

The answer is . . . . you should not have an animal in the home. Hear me out. Many say animals are a source of joy and comfort, but isn’t it much easier to seek love through food or alcohol instead? I have tried both, and eating cupcakes or having a nice daiquiri are both cheaper and much more fulfilling than having a dog and cleaning up after it.

Many people who don’t have pets long to have a fluffy, little animal to dote on and love. If you are one of those people, I will gladly lend you my little dog to help you see what a mistake you’re going to be making. Sure, Lucky is cute to look at, but he’s dim-witted and not very clean. If he were part of the Indian caste system, he would be an Untouchable. He cannot fetch, stay, roll over or get me a newspaper. Is it my fault because I never taught him those things? No. Scooby-Doo solves crimes, Mr. Ed gives Wilbur philosophical advice, but Lucky does nothing.

Having an animal is like having a grown child with serious hygiene issues. This blog is rated G to hold on to our toddler audience, so I will refrain from telling you all the unhygienic things that animals do -- but, believe me, it is not a pretty sight. My old neighbor’s large dog, who was the size of a bear, once greeted me at his house by slobbering several ounces of saliva all over my feet. As he walked away casually, I saw him smirking with satisfaction. My kids have never slobbered on my feet or smirked about it behind my back.

Animals are also very dangerous. I’ve heard horrifying stories of animals who have taken people’s lives in anger. Look at Sasquatch and Godzilla. Their actions have been documented through video footage.

Even fish aren’t safe. My kids asked for a goldfish one Christmas, but the salesman convinced me to buy the cute little fish in another tank that was even cheaper. The boys loved showing “Goldie” to their friends until he bit off the neighbor girl's hand. Who’d have thought a cute little piranha could be so dangerous? What has the world come to when you can’t even trust a fish salesman?

I don’t like to write a one-sided article, so I will share with you the other viewpoint (the wrong one) that animal proponents will argue. They say having an animal will increase the years of your life and keep you youthful. Lies! My husband is allergic to our dog, and I’m sure the medication he is taking is decreasing his days. It was written in the insert that came with his prescription, "Warning: this medication may decrease your life span." In addition, prior to having the dog, my husband had a full head of hair. Now, suddenly, it’s all gone.

Proponents say animals will love you forever, unconditionally, whereas humans won't. They’re right on this count. Say my kid committed a serious crime -- I would cease contact with him except on Mother’s Day in case a gift was forthcoming) and never claim him as my own. But my dog would love my kid even if he was a murderer. So I’ll make an exception to my no-pet rule. If your teenage child is already showing signs of delinquency, maybe you should go ahead and buy that pet to prepare for future disappointments. If your child has no criminal record, however, I see no reason for you to get a pet.

Another pro-pet argument that I can’t refute is one that my friend Carolyn sent me an e-mail about. She said pets are truly man’s best friend, over all other friends – including humans. She had me take a simple test. I had to lock up both my dog and my husband in the trunk of my car for half an hour. At the end of the 30 minutes, when I opened the trunk, I would find out who was my best friend. Lucky was so happy to see me, but Joe was mad as heck. I tried this with my neighbors and a door-to-door salesman who rang our doorbell, and, let me tell you, the dog consistently won every time! So maybe animals are better friends.

On the pro-animal side, I’ve also heard stories of animals that have saved people’s lives – in the Alps and right here in the good old U.S.A. Look how many times Lassie had to save that dullard Timmy. But then I heard stories of people who have saved people’s lives too, so that makes this argument a moot point.

So if you are seriously debating getting an animal, consider the points I’ve made. Do you really want to have Cujo as a family pet? It’s up to you. I’ve armed you with the facts, and now it’s time for you to decide. Whatever you decide, I’m sure you will thank me.

This blog posting is dedicated to my mother, who has been like a mother to me for 40 years. The other 4 years, she was more like a third cousin twice removed, but Mom and I have put those dark years behind us -- the important thing to remember is that prison made her a better person in the end. Just kidding. My mom is the best mom in the world, a good woman who put her heart and soul into her girls and helped shape us into what we are today. Sure I was the only one that turned out great, but even a good mom can't have it all. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom, and all you other mothers out there too. My sisters are mothers, so Happy Mother's Day to Marian and Annabel too. Have a wonderful day! Make sure you milk it because you go back to being an indentured servant tomorrow.

Love, your daughter (or Jackie)