I was watching something on TV last night, and there was a segment in which the host had his really smart dog fetch him a drink. “Get me a beer,” he said while lounging on the couch, immersed in a football game. His faithful companion immediately jumped down from the sofa and trotted into the kitchen, where he yanked on a hand towel that was conveniently wrapped around the refrigerator door to get it open. He then grabbed a can of beer from the bottom shelf in his mouth, and carried it back to his master, depositing it in his lap. “Good boy,” the guy cooed, and damn if the dog didn’t look happy performing grunt work for little more than a token scratch behind the ears. At this point, I glanced down at the cat on my lap, the one gracing me with her presence.
“Any chance you want to fetch me a drink, Sydney?” I asked.
She glanced up at me with half-lidded eyes and promptly fell back asleep, leaving me to ponder my choice of pets. It’s not that Sydney isn’t without her own charms – as far as cats go, she’s very friendly and pretty well-behaved – but let’s face it, the closest she ever got to bringing me a cold drink was, well, dunking her head in my cold drink. And slurping. The first time this happened, there was an unattended glass of milk on the table next to my recliner. I’d left the room for less than a minute, and when I returned, there she was, lapping it up as if she always drank from people glasses. An internal debate raged in my head for fifteen seconds or so. Toss it or drink it? Toss it or drink it?
Well, I ended up drinking it. I figured, cats probably have fewer germs than kids, anyway! It was only later that I realized cats are fastidiously clean and they lick themselves in places that kids probably can’t even reach, unless they’re really limber and flexible (in which case they should be Olympic gymnasts rather than Wii controller-toting enthusiasts). Whatever. I didn’t get sick, so the point was moot.
Somehow, this whole chain of events got me to thinking about how kids are like pets.
Seriously. Consider my argument, if you will…
- Kids, like pets, need to be fed on a regular basis. Often – especially when they’re younger – their food comes out of a can (hello, Chef Boyardee! Nice to meet ya, Campbells condensed soup!). Sometimes, they’ll even come running when they hear the electric can opener. What’s for dinner? What’s for dinner? And they love treats. So much that they’ll probably beg for more. Don’t forget to give ’em water, either.
- Kids, like pets, require exercise. I often take mine for walks, or we’ll play catch with balls or Frisbees. A sedentary lifestyle isn’t good for Fido OR junior.
- Kids, like pets, need constant grooming. This includes baths, regular haircuts, and making sure their nails are trimmed so they don’t
scratch the furniture and claw it to shredsgrow too long.
- Kids, like pets, sometimes get dressed up in silly little outfits around the holidays for our amusement. This is why you see a plethora of baby pea pods and pumpkins and bunnies with floppy ears at the tail end of October. Or garish sweaters and scarves when the weather turns cold.
- Kids, like pets, need to come in out of the cold. When the weather outside is frightful, we don’t delegate Rover to the doghouse overnight – that’s just cruel! Same with our less-furry offspring. If we did, Child Protective Services would be knocking down our doors in a heartbeat.
- Kids, like pets, must be given regular examinations and checkups by licensed people wearing white coats. They both dread these visits, too. Especially when needles and/or yucky medicine is involved.
- Kids, like pets, are often spoiled with toys. Said toys often squeak or make other noises that annoy the bejesus out of the very people who gifted them in the first place. Kids, like pets, also quickly lose interest in those toys and probably have more fun with the wrapping paper and boxes they came in.
- Kids, like pets, leave behind messes that must be cleaned up. One cat’s hairball is another kid’s upset-stomach-after-binging-on-too-many-sweets. Plus: whether you’re scooping a litter box, depositing dog poo in a plastic bag, or changing a diaper, chances are you’re breathing through your mouth and not having the slightest bit of fun. Let’s face it, they’re all crappy jobs. Literally.
- Kids, like pets, sometimes make too much noise and annoy the neighbors. Especially when they’re hopped up on chocolate or soda.
- Kids, like pets, are sometimes tied to leashes when walking in public. Particularly when they’re younger, and in crowded places like shopping malls. Fortunately (or unfortunately?), it’s not an acceptable practice to implant them with microchips. Yet.
- Kids, like pets, sometimes bite or scratch. Or even hiss. Particularly if they are feeling angry or threatened.
- Kids, like pets, shed. “…their dirty clothes on the floor without picking them up and putting them in the hamper where they belong” rather than “fur,” but the overall principle is the same.
There you have it! Next time you find that perfect apartment to rent, but the manager turns you down because you’ve got a schnauzer or a Siamese and they have a strict “no pets” policy, scope the place out. Are there kids running around the complex? If so, look that guy straight in the eye and call him a “hypocrite,” because that’s what he is.
Kids. Pets. They’re practically interchangeable.
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