By DARREN HANDSCHUH
I would have to classify myself as an animal person.
I am not covered in fur or anything (especially on my head), but I have had a dog my entire life and do enjoy having a non-human around the homestead (mother-in-laws don't count).
We also currently have a cat, so furred beasts are something I like to have around, most of the time anyway.
We all know they are not human, but we often treat them like they are. While they eat gross things and clean themselves with their tongue, they still become members of the family.
Disgusting and annoying members of the family, but members none the less. Mind you, teenagers can also be disgusting and annoying, but with them you cannot just throw them outside because they will simply come back in. They will then proceed to eat everything in the fridge, before heading to the pantry for a post-lunch, pre-supper snack. Which, of course, is followed by the post-supper, pre-bedtime snack.
Anyway, I have to admit to talking to my pets like they could actually understand what I was saying. I wasn't asking their opinion on anything or expecting an answer, but a pet is a good "person" to tell how your day went or what is bothering you etc.
They don't talk back, you won't hurt their feelings and no matter what, they are always happy to see you.
That last part applies mainly to dogs. Cats are happy to see you if they are in the mood.
Dogs are one of the few living things on this planet that you can have their boy bits removed and they still greet you at the door.
Fish could care less no matter what is going on and a tarantula is not a pet - it is a stain on the carpet should it ever get out of its enclosure.
I am sure some may disagree, but in general, if it has scales, fangs, venom or the potential to kill me, I do not consider it a pet in the traditional sense of the word.
They are certainly not pets in the cuddly sense of the word.
I know people who have spiders, snakes and lizards, but the only critters I have ever had as pets is cats and dogs.
I have already admitted to talking to them, but that is about as far as I am willing to go to make them more "human."
I will not put clothing on an animal simply because it makes them look 'cute.'
Cats and dogs were born with all the clothing they need, and God already took care of the cute part, so additional help from me is not needed.
There are people who dress up their beasts just to be fashionable and I even saw a dachshund, a.k.a. a wiener dog, wearing a little leather jacket.
It was real leather, I kid you not.
Who in their right mind would spend that kind of money to buy a leather jacket for a dog? What's next, a little Harley Davidson for the mutt to ride around the backyard on?
I am not poking fun at people who do dress up their pets, well, actually I am. Sorry about that.
The amount of money people can spend to make their pet 'human-like' is mind boggling.
I just don't get it.
But dressing up a dog is not the most bizarre interaction people can have with their mutt. It is people who share food - like an ice cream cone - with their hound that is truly strange behaviour.
Why? I refer you to the whole dogs-clean-themselves-with-their-tongue information I provided earlier.
Dogs also eat a wide array of truly hideous items, so considering I do not even like it when a dog licks me, I doubt we will be sharing any food with the critter.
I will talk to the mutt, but I will not share a plate with him. You have to draw a line somewhere.