January 9, 2012

Doggie Day Afternoons

"What is Bill grilling, Michael?"
"Is that hamburgers?"
"Oh, Michael, I love hamburgers too.  Especially, grilled ones."

That is my neighbor.  Peering over the fence talking to her best friend one afternoon.  And there have been many other similar conversations.  However, Michael isn't like you and me.  He shouts loudly when she comes home.  He craps in the backyard.  And oh yeah, Michael has a tail.
That's right Michael is a dog.  A collie of some sort and he can't speak. Why?   He's a dog.  He barks.

We however, don't have any pets.  My family is all pro-pet.  And let me tell you, they love all kinds of pets.  Doggies.  Kitties.  Bunnies.  Hamsters.  The Pet list goes on and on and on.  Pets are cool.  It is something extra to love and that alone is great.  But, due to allergies and cost, I don't see a pet in our future.

"But, pets don't cost that much, Bill."
We tried it.  But let's be honest, pets will get sick or worse yet if they get hurt a vet visit will be a must...and for some odd reason my health insurance doesn't cover animals.  Plus, the allergies, Shannon and my son turn into sounding like Darth Vader when they are exposed to animals for too long.  They also get rashes and puffy eyes making me feel like I'm walking through Walter Reed.  They look up at me through squinted eyes, with red faces and hands, and gasping for breath and ask, "You sure we *gasp* can't get one *gasp*, please."

I feel bad that we can't get one, but not that bad...
You see, I am not a pet person.  I don't care for them.  I understand why you might like pets, but not me.  I understand all the upsides for having a pet.  When I was younger, I basically lived in a zoo.  We were the Living Noah's Ark.  Two by two we had them.  Pets galore.  We had all kinds and each one received lots of love and kindness throughout their lives...but I'm through with them.

"But, Bill, what about the kids?  Kids need pets."
They don't.  I need a 72 inch flat screen LCD TV, but that ain't happening either.  They will adjust just fine without it, just like I struggle not watching Dexter on my living room wall.  Yet, I'm still surviving.
Not that we didn't try the pet route.  We have had a rabbit, dwarf frogs, and a scattering of fish.  They were cute, but now we just don't need the hassle that comes with being the owner of a proud pet.  (Remember Darth Vader at a war hospital.)

"You need a dog."
Big dog?  I would always be protecting my groin from the dog's baseball like tail or when it jumps up to snuggle with me and it feels like being hit by a linebacker.  It's tongue is the size of tennis racket - and drooling like an old man in a nursing home.  Plus, let us be reminded that we have to clean up after these beasts.  "Oh, Michael, we are going to need two bags for that one.  Were you eating Play-Doh again?  It shouldn't be teal."
Small dog? Yap.  Yap.  Yap.  Yap.  Race all over the place and jump onto my lap when I am at the peek of comfort.  Tell me when there is another dog within a mile radius and constantly hound me to go outside, because you need to poop and it's two in the morning and it just started raining...and now would be the perfect time.  And, now that you drug me outside let's poop every three feet, run around in circles and sniff at every tree, branch, telephone pole, hydrant and rock we find on our middle of the night journey.  And hopefully, we will find that annoying squirrel that loves to play tag.

Dogs.  No, thank you.

"How about cats.  They are independent."
Are they?  So, if I don't clean the liter box, they will?  They don't really want to be there, but hey you are feeding them.  They really want to claw you to death and show you their backsides as it leaves you scratched and in search of bandages.  They are cuddly kittens and then two weeks go by, and like a magician doing a trick, Wah-La, you got yourself a mean, old, independent cat.  He just wants to be left alone, so he can stalk the mice and birds.  He is also on the prowl to destroy any other cats he senses in the area.  They are nasty, nasty creatures.  

Cats.  You can keep them.

Gerbils, Birds, Ferrets, Mice, Snakes, Spiders, Iguanas, Monkeys (Okay, we'll have to talk about that one).  Pets are just not for me.  I see how having a pet would be great.  The best reason, is that they are the perfect excuse.  Were you over the in-laws a bit too long?  Gotta feed and let out the dog. That party not as fun as you thought it would be?  The dog is in the dark.  Who can say 'no' to that? 

And as a public service announcement:  If you are a pet owner, talk to it like it's a pet.  You can speak in that Minnie Mouse voice trying to convince the puppy that the thunder can't get him, but they aren't human.  He doesn't care what I'm making on the grill?  Unless, I am making it for him.  He doesn't care what I reading by the chiminea.  "Michael, is Bill reading the new Dan Brown novel?  I heard it's pretty interesting."

Because, when I start responding to the flowers, don't act like I'm the crazy one.  
"Purple Hydrangea, I'm making some BBQ Chicken.  
Hey, Red Rose Bush, this Dan Brown novel is exciting.  
Much better than his last one."

Finally, Michael is a Person name.  Pet's need pet names.  Fluffy.  Tiger.  Spotty.  Sir-Barks-A-Lot.  Because we all know that when you get behind closed doors he goes by his full name: Michael McSnausagepaws.

Now go take the dog out, I hear some bad weather is a brewing,

Michael's neighbor,