Category Archives: pets

The Kingdom of Dog

While comforting a boy on the loss of his beloved dog, Pope Francis said “One day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.”

Well, if the Pope says that dogs go to heaven, that’s pretty exciting news.

This has sparked a lively discussion, not just among theologians, but in the animal rights community, as well.

Belief in heaven is where faith is truly tested and it’s something I think about all the time. It’s hard for the rational mind have it all make sense, to completely accept that our souls will go on after death. The lack of proof is what makes it faith, not fact.

But what’s the harm in believing? There’s nothing wrong with that boy expecting to see his dog in heaven. And if after death there is nothing, he’ll never know the difference.

It would really be something to spend eternity with my dogs. The cats too, as long as I don’t have to change the litter boxes. That’s more like Hell.

A Brief Conversation with the Dogs

Scarlett and Maddy

Scarlett: Hey, you see that Cesar Millan is dead?

Rob: No, that was an internet hoax…

Maddy: I hate that jerk! He’s so mean. What’s a hoax?

Scarlett: Yeah, I read about it on Twitter and posted it to Facebook.

Rob: Well, it’s not true. Wait… you have Twitter and Facebook?

Scarlett: No, of course not, I’m a dog, silly. I used your account. You don’t mind, do you?

Rob: Well, actually…

Scarlett: It said he had a heart attack. Serves him right.

Maddy: Jerk!

Rob: Hold up… you really should check things like that before sharing them on Facebook…

Scarlett: Oh, whatever. So he’s not dead?

Rob: Not dead.

Maddy: Booo!

Rob: And don’t post things to my Facebook account when I’m at work.

Scarlett: Well, try logging off for a change. Sheesh… let’s go for a walk.

So, You Want to Rent a Cat?

Here’s something that turned up in my inbox:

I saw your post online about renting one of your cats?  Is this actually a reality.  My roommates and I would love to rent a cat for the spring.  If the offer is no longer on the table do you have any idea where we could get a cat for 2 months but then give it back.

It’s been four years since I wrote a tongue-in-cheek post about renting my cats out as rodent control contractors, yet I still get occasional comments and emails from people who are interested in the make-believe service.

It’s hard to tell if people are just pulling my leg. Seriously, I don’t know how much stupider I could have made the blog post. For example: “Maeve can be baited to make her more attractive to mice by rubbing cheese or peanut butter on her head. Rodents find these scents irresistible and will walk right into her clutches.”

I find that people sometimes don’t know when I’m kidding. Do you ever get that dead eyed stare at a meeting when you say something you think is funny and it doesn’t seem to register? It could just be people don’t have a sense of humor. Or they think you’re an idiot. Or maybe a little of both.

It’s hard not to think that there may have been something to the cat rental concept. Maybe if I were just a bit more ambitious I could have been the cat rental king, providing a service the public needs, making a nice living and putting some cats to work doing something useful.

Dogs of the Fall

On a recent ambulance call, we took care of a man who tumbled down a few steps after tripping over his dog. He dinged up his shoulder pretty well, but it could have been much worse. I resisted the temptation to ask, “Do you want us to have a look at the dog?” See, I’m getting better!

60% of my household’s pet contingent.

We’ve all read how pet ownership is good for your health, but according to a study by the CDC a few years ago, tripping over your pets poses a significant hazard — and all their toys and crap are trouble, too.

The biggest culprits? Dogs. From the report:

“Nearly 7.5 times as many injuries involved dogs (76,223 [88.0%]) compared with cats (10,130 [11.7%]).”

Also:

“The most frequent circumstances were falling or tripping over a dog (31.3%) and being pushed or pulled by a dog (21.2%).”

I’m no stranger to the dangers posed by household pests pets; living in a house teeming with furry animals who scurry about underfoot is risky business.  It’s so bad at our house that when I get out of bed in the middle of the night, I sweep the floor with my foot to check for the presence of animals or sharp-edged bones and toys.

What I’d really like to see is a study of the relationship between stepping on cats and cardiac arrests. There’s nothing more startling than that — and speaking of cats, the study contains this odd tidbit:

“Most falls involving cats occurred at home (85.7%). Approximately 11.7% of injuries occurred while persons were chasing cats.”

To recap, a few safety tips: sweep the floor with your foot, limit the number of animals in your house, and never chase cats.

Al Gore Was Right

There was an inexplicable surge of interest in a 2010 blog post I wrote about renting my cats. By “surge” I mean three comments — in my world, that’s a surge of interest. The tongue-in-cheek piece suggested that I was offering my three cats to people who need to get rid of rodents.

Then on top of that, somebody sent me this email:

Just stumbled across your blog researching how to get rid of mice. I know your post was written in 2010, but are you by any chance still doing the rent-a-cat thing? My roommates and i live in Brooklyn, and the traps don’t seem to be working. I would hate to make them suffer with poison or sticky traps, and I’m not sure we can keep a cat long term. Let me know if you’re still doing this, or if you know of anyone who is!

I wrote back, explaining that no, I’m not still renting cats and that I was just kidding. I also suggested the reader try peanut butter as mouse bait for the traps.

So what the heck is going on? My theory is that climate change may be influencing rodents. It’s possible that there are more mice running around — or some environmental factor is forcing them into residences in greater numbers. What do I know, I’m no scientist!

Anyway, maybe it’s time to rethink this whole cat rental idea?

Catabetes

Advances in veterinary treatments for household pets have raised an ethical question for their owners: how much are you willing to spend to keep your dog or cat healthy?

I went to the vet’s office recently to learn how to give my cat insulin shots. Like Wilford Brimley, Maeve’s got the dye-a-beet-iss — and it looks like she’ll be getting two shots a day, every day, for the rest of her life. This is not as complicated as it sounds. I had images of her wailing in pain and avoiding us like the plague for the rest of her days, coming out only when we were away from the house.

On the contrary, she barely notices when you stick her. It’s not expensive, either. One store gave us a huge box of syringes for free, and at Walmart the insulin cost a third of what CVS charges.

So that’s the new normal, and doing shots has taken on a new meaning. There was a time, not very long ago, that your pet with diabetes would just continue to have diabetes without any treatment. They would start having the side effects that come with the disease, and the downward spiral would begin.

Today pets get orthopedic surgery, cancer treatments, dental work — all sorts of fixes and therapies once reserved for humans. But like everything there is a price, and a decision to make about value, and the stark reality that some pets are blessed with deep pocketed owners, and others are not.

Honestly, I don’t know what my budget is for the pets. Is is the same for the dogs and the cats? There are no easy choices.

Why I Could Not Shave Today

The Clock Will Kill You

Most people did not get what Bill Belichick was doing when he allowed Ahmad Bradshaw to score — hell, even Ahmad Bradshaw didn’t understand until it was too late.

Belichick decided to trade points for time. It was a ballsy thing to do and a calculated risk that did not pay off. And you know what that’s like, don’t you?

So many writers have waxed poetic about baseball, but it’s football that reveals the truth about life. It’s a game of triumph and struggle and tragedy. Pain and glory, winning and losing. It’s a place where perseverence is rewarded — but sometimes it’s just better to be lucky.

And ultimately, as in life, it comes down to the clock.

Now, on to the sideshow. Most of the Super Bowl commercials sucked, but I really liked the Silverado apocalypse commercial, which would have also been interesting with zombies. However, the spot I can’t stop thinking about is the Cat Killing Dorito Dog. The audacity of extending the cat vs. dog trope this far, for the dog to… well watch the commercial:

This made me laugh out loud, the cats storm out of the room, and the dogs give high-fives all around.

The Dog Vote

Dogs can not vote, but that doesn’t stop me from speculating about their politics.

I tend to think of our dogs as libertarians: they oppose any sort of regulation or interference in their personal business. They don’t want anything impinging on their freedom to be dogs, but like many libertarians, they are also full of contradictions. For example, the dogs tend to be in favor of programs that benefit them directly — handouts, if you will — which is just human nature. Or dog nature, I guess.

And I do know this about my dogs: they would never vote for Mitt Romney. Not after hearing the story of Romney strapping his dog to the roof of a car to make a 12 hour vacation trip, like Clark Griswold with an Irish Setter. Just Google Romney dog for the ugly details.

To my dogs this is a sort of a canine Chappaquiddick, absolute proof that Romney can not be trusted to serve.

Don’t get me started on the cats. They are all about receiving services while not contributing much to the household. Not to get into any tired old sterotypes, but they are clearly the entitlement class — and certainly Democrats.