Arts & Culture
Thu July 26, 2012
Pets Rule!!!... commentary from Joan Carris
By Joan Carris
Beaufort, NC – Our country is apparently stuffed with pets, or companion animals as they prefer to be called. According to the American Humane Society, the U.S. now is home to over 86 million cats, a tad more than 78 million dogs, and an unknown number of gerbils and white mice. [You can tell by the number of mice working in scientific labs that they're probably smarter than the gerbils.]
Every year, five to seven million dogs, cats, ferrets, and other unwanted critters enter animal shelters, where three to four million of them are eventually euthanized. The word euthanized comes from Greek roots meaning "good death," although I doubt that the animals would agree with that definition. For sure, life brought no joy for those unfortunate ones les mis rables.
Yet most of us strive to provide joyful, healthy lives for our animal friends the dogs, always delighted to see us, and the cats, presumably pleased that the staff remains on duty. I can't guess at the amount of equipment you own for your pets, but at last count we had the following for our two enormous pussycats: six litter boxes; four grooming tools one of them termed The Furminator; 22 small balls of various sizes and musical ability; half a dozen fake birds, badly mutilated; 11 well-chewed catnip mice; five wands with tantalizing feathery blobs that dance at the end of their elastic bands; a scratching post, UNused; four food bowls; two water bowls plus an outdoor water basin for drinking and washing paws; AND an old sheet for hiding under to play games. A respectable collection, but certainly not record-breaking.
Sleeping arrangements for pets fascinate me. One couple we know shares their double bed with two dogs and four cats. On nights with scary storms, they add two children to the mix. A friend of ours says that her cat sleeps on her face. I was aching to ask how she could breathe, but I stifled myself. Yet another friend says her cat wraps himself around her neck and sleeps that way all night. All. Night. "In the summer??" I squeaked, knowing how warm cats are, but she nodded happily, so again I shut up.
Blessed are the animals who find these good homes. They dine on saut ed chicken livers and scrambled eggs. The gerbils have exercise balls which they can pilot across the floor to ensure their fitness. [We wouldn't want a corpulent gerbil. Heaven forfend.] Companion mice are offered mazes for keeping fit and developing their minds. Wee little dogs have wardrobes for inclement weather, and large dogs have beds that would comfort any sleeper.
All of these pets have excellent, free medical care well, free for the pets. Mom and Dad may grumble, but they'll pay. Why? Because pets bring us joy and laughter because they are our companions. Often they know us better than our relatives do and they love us anyway.