Now is as good a time as any to get something off my chest. And I know that once I say it, I will feel better, but I risk offending many of you. For those of you with sensitivities in the area I am about to embark on, I am truly sorry. To what degree you will be offended I am not sure, I am only sure that I have stewed over this topic for a good many years and the time has come to get it off my chest.
I do not like animals!!!
I am not an animal lover!!!
I do not get our country's pet craze! I don't get pets that are treasured more dearly than most distant relatives. Or pets that get more expensive haircuts than I do. I don't get pet clothes, sweaters, and embroidered pet jewelry. I don't get the bakery in Dallas that offers special mini cupcakes just for dogs. I do not get the emergency cancer pet clinic around the corner from my house. Or the people who run me over in an attempt to get their cat there. Human or cat? They chose the freakin cat at the risk of running me over. Furthermore, I do not get pets that end up on Christmas cards. I have nine cards on my refrigerator of dogs and cats!!! I don't care what your dog looks like!
This entire pet culture annoys me and drives me crazy. And I have decided that I am officially a person actively engaged in the war against domesticated animals (don't go PETA on me either, at least not yet, I am not killing pets, I am just engaging a moral battle to end their existence).
This all started when I was little. I had a dog named Patches and my mom sold him while I was away at my grandparents house before I got to say good-by to him. This was traumatic. And then, my dad ran over our next dog, she was pregnant when he committed the accident, and I vividly remember being seven years old and seeing little unborn dog babies on the driveway. This was also traumatic. Severely traumatic. When we moved to Texas we gave up on dogs and got a cat. In an effort to be the coolest dad ever, my dad let me stay home when our cat, "kitty" (we didn't even care enough about her to give her a proper name) had babies, and I watched Kitty have babies in my mom's closet and try to eat one of her baby cats who died in labor and then she moved on to eat some of the other unidentifiable stuff. The most traumatic, and more graphic than any Animal Planet you have ever seen. These lessons taught me not to get too close to animals. They are not like us; they are disgusting and they die way too easy.
On the flip side of the trauma and pain, my mom's side of the family sort of treated animals as if they were reincarnated Holy icons. Growing up, if the cat wanted to sit on the couch where I was sitting grandpa would say, "Baby can you move over? Jack wants to sit down where you are sitting." Seriously? Asking your granddaughter to move for a cat? The walls of their house were lined with newspaper for most of my life just in case the cat couldn't find a litter box and needed to let lose a spray. When a cat would "pass" we would experience weeks of mourning, followed by some sort of remembrance at the next family holiday, followed by, and this is not a lie, a commemorative glass plate with the cat's picture, death date, and name on it.
I grew up knowing all the cats that died in our family by their commemorative death plates.
My grandma and grandpa (who I love dearly) sort of encouraged this animal loving culture in our family. Cats should not be on the stove near the food, but if they were, there was really no need to yell at them. And if the cat wanted to sleep in the cupboards where the plates were, then Grandpa thought it was a beautiful thing she had found such a home... as long as the cat was happy. Our motto.
Turns out all four daughters ended up being animal lovers. One aunt has a bird that, yes, makes it onto family Christmas cards. One aunt has a cat who actually came home from the vet with it's own personal IV tube because he was suffering from type 2 cat diabetes. One cousin had a rabbit for over 20 years whose death was only encouraged by another aunt who thought keeping the rabbit for so many years past its prime was animal cruelty. Finally, the last aunt actually had a pet pig. When she left to live overseas she entrusted the pig to some friends, who, legend has it, left the pig with their son who became intoxicated and killed and roasted the pig.
And my mom. Well. We are talking about a woman here who moved to a farm, bought cows, named them and keeps them as pets. These cows have big long cow sticks attached their heads (aka longhorns, aka not domesticated-fun-loving animals) and she doesn't really seem to get the fact that they, unlike dogs, have no idea that she is trying to play with them. They just see red and charge. Their idea of fun is spearing things and people and having cow sex and cow babies (trust me, these things are having babies all the time).
And now my sister has fallen prey. She has a new kitty cat named Tiger. She first tried a dog out that she adopted from the animal shelter. Her husband thought it would be sweet to get a dog with "problems" so that he wouldn't be killed in the pound. Turns out his problems were more like; he was a demon in a dog's body. After weeks of trying, she brought him back to the pound sobbing at her miserable attempt of saving the dog. She got a cat instead. And now, every time I talk to her you'd think there is a baby or a small heavenly cherub in her bed because she goos and gaas and says in the most girly, baby voice, "yes you do. Yes you do wove (love) mommy, don't you? Yes ha my wittle wirl (yes, you're my little girl). You’re duh cutest wittle baby wever."
My sister went to the dark side. And now, besides my dad, I stand alone in the animal hater camp and scream for people to come back to their senses.
It is JUST AN ANIMAL, it can't TALK. It is NOT a CHILD. It does not need ORGANIC FOOD. Its doctor bills could buy my groceries for a month. It does not need JEWELRY. Or its own PICTURE with SANTA. Cupcakes? Bows? IV's? Chemo? It's own bedroom? Funerals? Commemorative plates? Life insurance on Fido? It does not speak BABY LANGUAGE!
I feel better.
Sure, maybe I have no heart and no soul.
But I saw a woman today at the animal cancer clinic embracing a guy as they looked depressingly down at their spastic dog and cried. And I started having flashbacks. My mom selling my dog. My other dog being killed. And my cat giving birth and then cannibalistically trying to eat her own child. And all the times I had to move so the cat could have full rights to my grandpa's lap, and all the strange animal pictures hanging on my fridge right now, and.....
And I grew bitter. My true feelings surfaced. Animals as pets?
What is this world coming to?