PETS

Larry and Darlene ShortI don't have a whole lot of advice about pets ... except for the following:

I once had a pet spider. I felt some affinity to him because he bit me in the elbow and caused me a lot of pain. I kept him alive in a jar because I didn't know what kind of spider he was and I wanted some evidence for the medical examiner in case I suddenly swelled up, turned purple and collapsed. Obviously that never happened. (Well ... not the turning purple part, at least.) The funny thing was, after hand-feeding that spider flies and watching how marvelously he worked to subdue them, I grew a little attached to him. That attachment ended suddenly one day when my wife, thinking my relationship with the blood-sucking spider was starting to get ... shall we say ... a bit unhealthy, decided to fill his jar full of scalding water. Oh well, spiders don't make the best pets ... although they are a heck of a lot cheaper (and cleaner) than cats and dogs.

If you go for a dog or cat, realize this: you are committing yourself to thousands of dollars of maintenance, vet bills, food, medicine, repairing torn curtains and soiled carpeting, replacing scratched furniture, and on and on. Don't get me started on fleas ... or ringworm! The way I figure it, you can just about get a car for the lifetime amortized price of one cat. And your car will probably love you more.

Also, don't buy into that talk about rabbits making good pets. I worked on a rabbit farm. The main reason they had for living was to try and pee on you long distance while you were working by. Although they do make a very tasty sandwich.

Guinea pigs? We had a bunch when I was a kid. They turned cannibalistic and ate one another. I felt compelled to euthanize the survivors. I still have nightmares about the experience.

Chickens are kinda cool because you can "hypnotize" them by laying them down in the dirt, drawing a line in the dust in front of their nose. They will stare at it for at least 15 minutes, which is usually long enough for you to go get a sharp ax. The really good part about chickens is that they taste a lot like chicken.

Goats? They were the bane of my childhood. One tried to spear me with his horns once as I was in the process of getting bucked off by a horse. A big flaky piece of horn went up under my thumbnail and I thought I was going to die. My parents used to make me milk them. They'd always wait until the pail was almost full ... then step in it gleefully.

Cows? When I was a kid we had a cow I really liked named Bessie. She threw my brother into a feeding trough and split his head open. Since I often wanted to do the same I felt an affinity to Bessie. Unfortunately one day my dad hired a man to come out and shoot her. That night we had some really nice steaks, but as I chewed on them all I could think of was Bessie's big, brown eyes staring at me balefully. Kinda sad. But she made the best burgers (hey ... "Bessburgers!") I ever had.

Finally, turtles. We once had a turtle named Heath. Unfortunately one night the racoons came and ate three of his legs off. We had great entertainment watching him swim around in circles after that.

Well, as you can tell I really don't have much advice about pets. They have brought us a lot of humorous moments. Like the time our cat launched a lightning strike attack against a bird on the back porch ... and ran headline into the sliding glass door. You couldn't pay for that kind of entertainment, right?