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How Much Is That Doggie In the Window?


May 8, 2011 by wcobserver

By Alison Grisham

A couple of weeks ago, in a zoo in Bristol, England, a baby duck somehow wandered unwittingly into a gorilla cage The gorilla, much to the surprise of all who saw the event, did not harm the duckling. In fact, a photograph showed the gorilla sweetly cradling the little ball of fluff as if it were a new pet. Then later, according to all reports, the duckling made it home safely. I wasn’t surprised at all. After all, animals are always endearing when they’re small… and typically… when they belong to somebody else. You know when I’ll be impressed?… when the gorilla starts housebreaking the duck and still resists the urge to turn him into dinner.

The first day I got my puppy, I thought he was the sweetest, most loveable little guy in the world. He didn’t so much as move from my lap. Ahhhh… the honeymoon phase. Now that I’ve been cleaning up after him for weeks, I realize he was just trying to make a good impression in those first few days. It was completely disingenuous when he looked at my shoe and walked away. He had no intention of learning what to do outside. Licking my face was just part of his evil plan. He was being cute just to get his furry little feet in the door. Being “cute” was a survival mechanism. He probably heard that alligators, who aren’t cute at all, were being made into shoes and belts. So he decided to play to his strengths… turning his face sideways as if he was listening… sitting on my feet to keep them warm. Fake… all of it.

But now the gloves are off. He’s in my house and taking over. He has absolutely no intention of doing anything I say… especially when it comes to “doing his business.” During the torrential downpours of Easter weekend, there were more puddles in my living room than in my driveway. I can’t understand how an animal that weighs less than 10 pounds can produce so much urine. But if I were measuring, I’m pretty sure I’d be half way to filling up an Olympic size swimming pool by now.

I don’t know what I was thinking anyway. I’ve had puppies before. But it’s like childbirth. You forget all the horrible parts you have to go through in an effort to get something that might actually love you every now and then. So I forgot that housebreaking a puppy requires a cargo van’s worth of paper towels and a vat of household cleaner. I forgot that puppies chew on anything they can find, even if one of those things is your 6 year-old daughter.

So when I saw the story about the gorilla and the duckling, it got me thinking about our inherent instinct to care for animals and people. In theory… I imagined it might help me understand why I decided to take on a pet. I don’t know where the instinct comes from exactly. But I do know that some of us have it and some of us don’t. The only thing is, I’m not always sure which category I’m in. There’s a chance I’ll survive having a puppy… but if he doesn’t smarten up soon, it’s entirely possible he’ll go the way of the alligators… and be turned into a handbag.



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