We have a cat that came with our house. The kids named her/him (we are not sure after 18 months) T.S. Elliot. As she (we have come to refer to it as a her but again we are not totally sure) sits on our back porch or calls from the back door we will on occasion throw the odd scrap to her in order to keep her around. She is a serious mouser. She will bring whole or parts of a mouse to the back door for us. The kids have taken videos of her eating mice and playing with her quarry.
I am not a pet person. I have never owned a dog, or until now a cat, for more than a week or two. I have had animals that serve a purpose like cows, chickens, goats, and turkeys. I don't have that "man's best friend" thing going on. In fact I go completely the other direction. Looking at the cat sitting on the back porch it made me think "what kind of cool stuff could they do"?
For instance, can animals wink at you? Close one eye on purpose to get your attention? I somehow doubt it but it would be cool to see. I have seen Stupid Pet Tricks on Late Night with David Letterman so I know they can dance, jump, skate, surf, roll over and play dead. But what about fold the clothes, clean the bathroom, vacuum the house, wash the car, mow the lawn or something really useful to warrant having to pick up all the little gifts they leave in your yard? Dogs like to dig. Could they be taught to weed a garden? I would pay for a dog like that.
Whenever I ask these questions of dog owners they look at me like I am smoking something that belongs in Washington or Colorado. It is then followed up by some comment like "are you kidding?! They are members of the family. I couldn't do that to them!" I will tell you what as soon as they get a social security number and I can get a tax deduction for them I will consider them a member of the family, until then they are a simple non-contributor. I had the chance to eat more than one dog on my mission in the Philippines (tasted like goat only greasier). If I make any reference towards that as a purpose for a dog, I am the heartless one. What's with that?
Something that I really don't understand are dog people who take their dogs with them everywhere. To the store, get gas, on their lap while driving, out for a walk with the dog in a stroller, etc... Then those non-dog loving types like myself are somehow the bad guy when I don't approve. It has taken years but family knows the animal-friendly-zone ends at my driveway. Don't bring your critters to leave in your car and don't even think about bringing them into my house. It is really about boundaries.
I just read this post and it comes across that I am a total animal hater. I'm not. I can appreciate their beauty and acknowledge they are a positive influence in some peoples' lives. I just like the opportunity to say I don't want them in my life and please don't force them onto me. If I want to look at, see, touch, or hear your critter, I will let you know. But until then assume I am good just knowing you have one somewhere, where I am not.