Pets: A love story

There is no sensible reason to get a pet. They’re inconvenient! They’re a responsibility. They’re destructive. And then there’s the pooping (SO MUCH POOPING).

Why would any sane person get a pet?

The answer is: They don’t.

The sane people have stain-free carpets, un-nibbled books, un-dug gardens.

They go on holidays, clicking the door behind them. They walk because they feel like it. They type unobstructed.

But I am a tragic animal lover. If I wasn’t a renter, oh boy, the alpacas and chickens we would have.

As it is, we have a dog, cat, two guinea pigs and a goldfish. We had a cockatiel that escaped and my heart is still a maudlin pile of feathers over it.

My husband is an inveterate ‘no’ person. He doesn’t want any of it. He would live in a Bachelor’s box if he had a choice.

But we whine and we beg and we eventually overrule objections.

The welcome is inevitably a thing of great stress. Things get ruined (goodbye suede boots), the pets escape (PEPPER! PEPPER!) and regret sets in almost immediately.

Why? Why would a sane person get a pet?

Because there’s a sense of communion with a pet that is, by necessity, unspoken.

The cat loves me. She is a drooling, purring, blissed out blob and her heart cannot be bought. When she curls into the back of my knee, or Velcros her claws onto my chest, I know it’s real.

Without our dog, I may atrophy. Regardless of aches, weather and will, I walk her, and she rewards me with great galloping JOY. To watch her run uplifts me. She is mindless freedom; wiggling, wagging joie de vivre.

And the guinea pigs are surprisingly characterful. They chitter, they wheek, they bicker and they furtively patrol the perimeter waiting for the toddler god to bring them a carrot. They tolerate us, at best, but they seem settled and they entertain me endlessly. I cannot recommend them enough because they are also incredibly easy to look after. After they escaped enough times, we deemed the cage unnecessary and now they live in the front yard, contentedly mowing the clover.

As for the the fish. She (I sense femininity) survives. She dodges the toddler’s grasp and survived the unfortunate hugging that killed her brethren. She is a stalwart of limited personality but you’ve got to admire her stoicism.

I have a long history of loving, and some of that history, involves dogs named Toby, Dash and Lucy and cats named Ziggy and Beautiful.

What do you think? Are you pro or anti-pet?

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