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Friday, January 09, 2004

Petting Zoo

My family has eight pets.

Six cats, and two dogs. The dogs are Labs, so they're big.

It just kind of happened that way. It wasn't so big of a deal when we had a big house with a decent yard. But we don't have that anymore. They have a tiny house with a tiny yard. So they're EVERYWHERE. I have allergies but that wasn't that big of a deal growing up, because I had a relative innoculation. Since leaving for college, however, I've completely lost that. I have to take a couple allergy pills a day just to stop from sneezing ALL the time, as opposed to most of the time. And I don't like to take pills. But it's pretty much necessary.

Other than the allergies, the cats are fine. I mean, they yowl for food in the evening, and occasionally wake me up, but they're small and adorable. The dogs, on the other hand....well, the dogs aren't that much of a problem. They're big, dumb, happy, and friendly. The way my parents treat them, however, may be the most annoying thing my family does. And nobody can annoy you like your family, right?

In my parents' universe, the dogs are children. But they're children who give unconditional affectionate love. And since they're, you know, dogs, everything they do that's good is praiseworthy, or even intelligent, whereas any mistake is ignored. The other night, my parents called Sophie, the older, not blatantly idiotic dog, "more intelligent than most humans." The purported explanation for this was that Sophie did not vote for George Bush. Or perhaps it was her ability to sit on command about half the time. Still, it's not as bad as when my parents tried to argue with me that she could talk. Talking being barking in a specific manner. The story went, one of my cats was at the vet and started yowling, so Sophie put her paws up on the table and started telling the vet what was wrong with him. I tried to counter this with a "um, dogs don't talk." More fool me, as both my parents turned on me and declared that "Sophie can!" I found a way to unite them, apparently.

And then there's the projection. Okay, it's not this bad. "Sophie says she's happy." "Saffie missed you, yes she did!" "Saffie doesn't like those bad Cowboys, does she? She's a 49ers fan, yes she is!" An anthropologist could come in the house and observe my parents' interactions with the dogs and probably come up with decent meanings for everything they say. The dogs are simple. They like attention, and food. But they're miniature philosophers, who happen to agree with whatever my parents' mood is. No Atmosphere lyrics- "So now I keep a close eye on my pets/Because they make most of they moves off of instinct and sense/It's eat, sleep, fuck and self defense" - for these dogs, no sir.

I'm not immune. My annoyance with my parents then gets projected onto the dogs. I'm a cat person, and tried to argue against getting the dogs. I mean, they're sweet, and I certainly don't want them dead, but they don't inspire great amounts of love in me. So when my parents are annoying about the dogs, I get annoyed with the dogs. I call them the damn dogs, even though it's the damn parents.
- Rowan Kaiser, 4:20 PM
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