We arrived at our host’s lovely home and exchanged pleasantries as I offered my baked won-ton appetizers. Then the dog attacked. The pony-sized labradoodle bounded into the room and feverishly started to hump my leg with the passion of a sailor on shore leave.
“Why is it masturbating on my white pants?” I asked, trying to remain calm.
“He’s just so friendly,” my laughing hostess proclaimed.
She retrieved the dog and proceeded to nuzzle its face. That’s when I knew it would be a long evening. I walked briskly toward the wine bar, wary of sudden attacks from the horny hound. Once again, Cabernet would get me through the ordeal.
I belong to that rare and happy group of people who don’t have indoor pets. Every day my friends on social media post photos and videos of cats and dogs, and I quickly scroll past these visions because I know that the dog licked its genitals before it licked that sweet baby’s face. I’m particularly bothered by the sight of dogs sleeping with babies, pets in human beds, and cats in clothes. At the risk of being pelted with stale dog biscuits and bitten by animal rights activists, I politely request that pet lovers accept the fact that some of us prefer not to live with hairballs, poop behind the couch, and animal hair in our food.
I’m amused and slightly irritated when people prance about with carriers that hold their precious tiny dogs. Why do they expect me to gush over an animal in a purse? If that little ball of fur could talk, it would say, “Get me out of here so I can go sniff that dog’s butt!”
I grew up on a farm surrounded by fields and pens full of cattle, horses, pigs, a few cats and a dog. None of these animals lived inside our house. The dog provided security by barking at dangerous squirrels and by herding cattle. The cats worked daily as mousers in the barn. Not one of them wore a sweater vest or needed a therapist. We all knew our roles down on the farm, and life was grand.
Pet-less people never have dead mice delivered to their doorstep by a warrior cat or hear the blood-curdling scream of cats in heat. They don’t need to worry about getting a kennel when they travel, and they save money by not buying pet food or dealing with expensive veterinarian bills. Americans spend more than $56 billion annually on pets. We could fix some roads, supply new books to the schools, and build animal sanctuaries with that money.
Caveat: I respect those who need indoor animals for comfort and companionship. And, I’m a firm supporter of service dogs and police canine units. These animals earn their keep and provide an important duty.
I have the perfect pets: fish. My outside pond is full of goldfish and koi. They are beautiful, don’t demand anything, and don’t chew my furniture. Best of all, in the winter they hibernate in the rocks and don’t need anything. I love my fish.
All I ask is for tolerance and acceptance for those of us who don’t think your dog/cat is cute. We love photos of your kids and grandkids, but the puppy in the crib is too much. Unless the child has been raised and suckled by wolves in the forest, the baby doesn’t need to sleep with an animal.
I intend to enjoy my patio and watch my goldfish and koi swim around. You are welcome to visit – without any pets – sip a glass of wine, and offer a toast to my fish. I promise they won’t hump your leg.
(Published on The Huffington Post Aug. 28, 2015)