People who own pets make them a part of their family, treating them as one of their children, infact their pet becomes their favourite child, receiving all their undivided love and care. Most part of the conversation with these pet owners revolves around their pet and its pranks. One such owner I know says with pride, “you know Jimmie is super intelligent and very observant. He switches the air conditioner by himself before retiring for the night. Another says excitedly, you know Jessie opens the door of my fridge and helps himself to what ever he wants to eat without disturbing me. Yet another talks in glowing terms of her Tiger who loves visitors and literally thrusts himself on them licking them all over as proof of the fact.
Such accolades for their pets go on and on and I find nothing wrong, infact envy the pets more for the attention and care that is given to them by their masters/mistresses.The problem arises when they expect the visitors also to bestow whole hearted love and undivided attention on their pets. Pet dogs are so much like spoilt children, I realized after a few experiences of ours. At a get together in one of our friend’s houses, their pet dog, described as a friendly one made its presence felt throughout the two hour period we spent with them, barking almost continuously, only stopping in between, probably for the briefest respite. When its master tried to check its full throated bark, it only resulted in an increase in its decibels and embarrassment of its owner not to speak of all our voices being drowned in the process.
Again like children pets detest being left alone when you are away. Only difference perhaps is when you leave them in a room (which you dare not do with your child) they cannot be destructive or come to any harm but imagine the neighbours’ plight. Our neighbour’s pet dog would howl endlessly when it was left alone for days on end.(the care taker would feed him regularly and would leave him to himself after that)
The story with pet cats is no different, perhaps it is worse. One such lover of cats invited me to dinner and to my horror I found their cat tugging at my sari and when I let out a scream, it ran and hid itself under the chair of its master. “Tommie is a dear and so very affectionate. He doesn’t like certain foods but when I pamper and cajole him to eat, he readily obliges me”, related the proud owner. However one look at the skinny and boney creature which appeared anything but healthy made me want to run away from the place as soon as I could!
Tail piece: You may love your friends and neighbours but expecting you to love their pets as well is a tall order, I feel!
n.meera raghvendra rao