I believe that every home should have a pet. A pet completes a family! When my parents first decided to get a dog, my dad’s exact words were, “Let’s get a dog for the boy. I think it would be a good trade.”
We named that dog “Roxie.” Back then, my family watched “Lassie” every Sunday night, and with every episode Lassie saved Timmy’s hide by doing everything with the possible exception of performing an emergency appendectomy on him. To see if Roxie would also save me, I lowered myself into an abandoned well and yelled up to her, “Roxie, go get mom and dad!” Roxie ran home and told them, “That boy has some serious issues!”
When I got married, we had little money and the apartment required a damage deposit for pets. (Why not for the kid across the hall?) My wife wanted a pet, but there weren’t a lot of options. That was during the pet rock fad, where people bought rocks in nice little boxes. That seemed a little ridiculous. We chose instead to rescue a rock from the quarry. We thought that a good name would be “Roxie” but opted against it. So, we called it “Snowflake.” My wife trained Snowflake — to stay, not to beg at the table and to play dead. She wanted it to sleep in our bed. I said absolutely not. Snowflake was relegated to the floor. One night it got even with me by attacking my foot.
When we bought a house, we knew that we could get other pets. Over the years, we have had fish, cats, dogs and gerbils. We can speak from experience that when you take a baby home from the hospital or an adoption agency and a kitten or puppy from the SPCA, you will get more care instructions from the SPCA than from those other places. Perhaps it is because the SPCA knows that if you run into any problems, they are the only ones you can bring back what you got.
Having a pet has so many advantages. For one thing, pets listen without making fun of what you say. (Well, cats do give you that look of “Like, I really care?”) For another thing, you can always blame the pet for things, and they will not deny it. (“Who forgot to put the lid on the ice cream in the freezer?” “It must have been the dog.”)
Some people express themselves through what type of pet they have. (Have you ever seen a CEO with a cat? They learn quickly that there is no way they can boss around a cat!) There are those guys who pick what type of dog to get like they pick their sports car or monster truck, as an outward sign of manliness. (“Wow, that guy has a large vicious feral beast; certainly, he wants us to suppose that he is a REAL man!”) I, on the other hand, drive a sedan and have a poodle. So, after years of therapy, I am very content in my self-image.
My wife and our dog Maccabee have joined the group of regulars at the dog park. There they have a safe place for the dogs to exercise while the owners discuss why they prefer dogs to people.
I surmise that my wife plans on surprising me with another dog for my birthday. I overheard her tell a friend, “I would like to get a dog for Stan. I think that would be a good trade!”