Roll over, play dead, and let me watch TV
Definitely, I am not a dog person.
Everyone knows there are dog people and cat people (and ape-men, who will eventually rule this planet, but that’s neither here nor there), and then a few weirdos who love all kinds of animals; and I am definitely not a dog person.
I am a cat person. My neighbor has a cat. If she were on vacation, I would happily take care of the cat for her.
But my neighbor isn’t on vacation. My roommate is, and my roommate has a dog. As a result, I am taking care of a dog.
And this is no mere dog. This is the most enormous beast of a canine to be found anywhere short of the Alps, where St. Bernards live. The likes of this creature has not been seen since mythological times, when she would have been assigned to guard the entrance to the underworld.
Size really isn’t the issue, however (although you might guess otherwise if you saw the offers e-mailed to me every day). An intricate web of complex reasons and personal beliefs underlies my preference for cats over dogs, but without going into too much detail, I think I can boil it down to: I am lazy.
I am lazy. No one should depend on me, because I sleep 13 hours a day, and spend the rest of the time trying to wake up. Oh, I fake it pretty well, having learned to mimic the appearance of an attentive, alert, adult male – but I usually can’t remember to feed myself twice a day, so I should not be in charge of any poor creature that can’t open the refrigerator on its own.
Unless it’s a cat. Cats are awesome because you can fill up one of those gravity feeders for them, the kind that stays full for a week or longer. Give a dog a gravity feeder, and it’ll just wolf its way through the whole thing and then throw up on your carpet.
But a cat you can leave to its own devices. Sure, you can feed a cat every day, and spend a lot of time petting and holding it, but the cat doesn’t care. It might return your affection from time to time, but often as not it’ll just patiently endure your ministrations or even struggle to escape into the next room.
And that is great. That’s, like, the perfect pet. It’s there, it fills your pet quota – “Look, I care about other life forms!” – and it requires minimal involvement. In 21st century America, where we’re too busy to microwave things, the cat reigns supreme.
The dog, on the other hand, needs to be fed in the morning and again in the evening. She needs to go out at least twice a day. (Humans have been hanging out with dogs since prehistoric times – you’d think we could have taught them how to use a litterbox by now.) She expects me to pet her and watch TV at the same time.
What I’ve learned, though, is that for a few minutes at a time, I can do that. I can pet the dog. I can take her outside and let her sniff stuff, and tell her not to eat things that are actually probably OK for a dog’s digestive tract. And I guess that’s important, learning to pay attention to other living beings, seeing as how I may have a kid or two someday, if I ever meet an incredibly gullible woman.
And kids – well, you can’t leave them alone with a gravity feeder until they’re at least 3.
Josh Wimmer works on the copy desk at The Union. His column appears every other Friday. Call him at 477-4239, or e-mail him at
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