Everyone should own a pet. A pet is more than a companion, it is something you can blame if you spill juice on the carpet or break a plate. And, it certainly makes a great scapegoat when flatulence is present in the room.

Pets are an extension of what their owners are. Someone mean and ruthless might have a pit bull for a pet. A talker may keep a parrot around. An ugly slob may pal around with a potbelly pig. And, who knows, a nympho maniac could very well have a rabbit for a pet. Show me what your pet is and I'll show you what you are.

A pet is always there for you. After a rough day of work, your pet will greet you at the door, circling and licking you...like Richard Simmons. This means "I've missed you, now where the hell is my food." Unlike humans, animals aren't picky about what they eat. If you place a bowl of Kibbles 'n Bits in front of your loving mutt, it's highly unlikely they will send it back to the chef because there's a hair in it.

Sometimes your animal is diagnosed with a life threatening illness. You're never really sure what the condition is but you do know that it will cost $800. The vet will always tell you there is a chance your animal will live because putting it asleep is only $80. Logic tells you for $800 you can get two cats, a dog and really good spa massage. The only thing left to do is tell the kids the dog ran away. "Shouldn't we make up some lost-dog posters, mommy?" You scramble for an answer, "No honey, that won't help. Dogs can't read."

Pets can have annoying habits. A cat, for instance, will suddenly decide she needs to be in the next room. There was no Amber Alert or Tornado Warning coming across the TV but, for some reason, at this particular time in her life, she has to be in the next room. Dogs like to watch people eat. Nothing ruins a meal faster than a pair of beady, cocked eyes following every movement of a fork. These furry beasts really only drool so you will lose your appetite and hand them the plate. Stringy slobber does wonders for the appetite. Dogs seem to have more annoying habits than other pets. A hamster never humps your leg. And when was the last time your gerbil drank from the toilet.

All pets wake you up in the morning - usually ten minutes before your alarm goes off. That's an hour of sleep deprivation per week. However, any pet's biggest, pesky habit is going to the bathroom. It's always the owner stuck with cleaning up the dirty deed. Someone ought to invent the perfect pet that never has to relieve itself. You keep it for two years, it explodes, and then you get a new one.

Pets are fun to play with. A bone. A ball. A piece of string. These simple life distractions tell me that pets don't have any bills to pay. Not only do they occupy the animal but these wonderful devices excuse you from household chores - like having to take out the trash. "I can't right now, honey. I'm playing with Pepper."

A pet can comfort you. When that man hasn't called you in three days there's nothing more soothing than having a loving cat cuddled up on your lap. A carton of Haagen-Dazs isn't bad either, but it doesn't purr. Pets help you escape from everyday problems. The credit card bills are piling up. You're out of work. Your house is in foreclosure. These things are forgotten when a dog is licking your face - that is, until they repo your mutt.

The main reason we have pets is that they are something in our life that need us. Appreciate us. Never judge us for guzzling directly from the milk carton. Yes, a forgiving, nonjudgmental creature. (You hear that spouse?) This is why it's important to never teach furry monster how to use a can opener. After that, you are of no use to them. But aren't pets loyal? Yeah, right up to the time you open that front door. As your faithful pet darts off, you'll be lucky to get an "I'll be back for dinner, sucker." Well, enjoy your day animal tracking. No matter, we need them. It's nice to come home to something that can't wait to see you...and doesn't mouth-off like your teenage daughter, who, incidentally, was supposed to empty the litter box a week ago.

by Jeff Charlebois
Ham on a Roll

ABILITY Magazine
Articles in the Frankenstein issue; Emme Aronson—Couples Fighting Depression; Car Wars—May the Force be Green and a Q&A with Toyota; Humor Therapy; Pet Peeves; All the World's a Stage, But How Do I Get a Ticket to the Show—Disability Legal Rights Center; Iraq Vets—Healing on the Slopes; Virginia Tech—Lessions to be Learned; Chop Chop—Try a Raw Food Diet; ABILITY's Crossword Puzzle; Events and Conferences...subscribe

Excerpts from the Frankenstein issue:

Earl Bakken Interview

Road to Qatar — Allen Ruckers Reports

Stroke — Dr. Winstein's Recovery Research

Augie Nieto's — Quest to Coquer ALS

Chop Chop — Try a Raw Food Diet

Humor Therapy — Pet Peeves

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