All posts tagged: Animal

Silly Things People Have Said to Me When I Tell Them I Don’t Want Pets

I know, I know, you think I have no heart. Everyone does when I tell them that I don’t have (or ever want to have) a pet. But I do have a soul, I swear. I’m just not that into four-legged, furry creatures, and I certainly don’t want one running around my cozy one-bedroom apartment. Listen, I never said I don’t like pets. And I don’t think I’ve ever implied that I’m “anti-animal.” I’m just not a “pet person” (and neither is my husband, thankfully). But still, people just don’t get it. Recently, when I told a friend that my husband and I were thinking about starting a family next year, she said: “Get a pet first. That way, you’ll know you if you can handle kids.” When I told her no way, and that I’d take a baby over a dog any day, she looked at me as though I had just murdered a bunny rabbit. To me, a pet is just as much of a responsibility as a baby, maybe even more of …

You Should Know: Cow vs. Goat vs. Sheep

You’re scratching your head. Of course you can tell the difference between these three barnyard animals. Heck, any five-year-old can tell them apart! But do you know the difference when it comes to one of the most fantastic foodstuffs on earth? We’re talking cheese.                               Many of us take the advice of gourmet goddesses like Ina Garten to heart when composing a cheese plate, going for a threesome that includes one “soft and fresh,” another “semi-hard or hard” and a third pick that is resolutely “blue.” (Yes, we’re still talking about cheese. Get your mind out of the gutter.) But, with a good number of cheese plates under your belt (literally and figuratively), it is time to seriously consider the provenance of your selections. Not talking country of origin — although national “cultures” do offer up distinct styles — but speaking of the animal of origin. When it comes to cow’s milk cheese, there can be a wide range of flavor …

Moby Might Have Been a Dick, But I Loved Him

Moby loved curling up in cardboard boxes and cold ceramic sinks. He had a habit of biting shoes and biting people, especially an ex-boyfriend or two. He had a protruding chin like a little man, and a marking on his side that looked like a broken heart. He’d snuggle and spoon with me at night. When I met my husband-to-be, Moby gave me his own personal nod of acceptance by not biting him. Moby would regularly knock things off shelves to wake us up, so often that we installed new cabinet doors to deter him. A big white whale of a cat, Moby was alternately named for Moby Dick or ’60s psychedelic band Moby Grape but not the electronica musician, as many suspected. His nicknames included Little Man, Mister Man, Mobius Strip, Mobus Operandi, Moby the Dick. Funny thing is, I grew up with dogs and never thought about getting a cat until a fateful day in 1995, when a crazy-seeming old lady on a street in South Philly offered up an adorable white kitten. …

Just Like People: Dogs & Cats Get Bookish

Jon Katz writes books about dogs — lots and lots of books about dogs: Soul of A Dog, A Dog Year, A Good Dog, Dog Days and many more. He lives at a place called Bedlam Farm (also the name of his web site), sharing accommodation there with numerous dogs, a variety of livestock — and his new wife, an artist named Maria Wulf. Her intensely loyal but troubled dog Frieda is the subject of Katz’s latest book, The Second Chance Dog: A Love Story (Ballantine Books, November 12, 2013). Despite Frieda’s initial erratic behavior and refusal to go near Jon, the author used patience, determination, and “five hundred dollars worth of beef jerky” to convince his wife’s beloved canine to accept him. Katz believes we over-anthropomorphize our pets (or “companion animals,” to use the latest parlance). By attributing too much emotion and soul to domestic animals, Katz thinks we fail to understand and respect their animal nature — their real reason for being on earth. I highly recommend The Second Chance Dog to anyone who …

A Mutt (and an Aunt) Named Edna

I brought home Edna, a Chihuahua/terrier mutt, when I was 12 years old. She’d been living with a punk rock boy named Clay who hung out where I did on the Santa Fe Plaza. We were called the Plaza Rats (in our thrift store creations and Violent Femmes-blasting boomboxes), but this Edna “thing” was rattier than any of us put together. Clay had been stealing Mighty Dog food from the Woolworth’s on the corner and didn’t want to get busted. I agreed to take her home for one night, and if my mom didn’t allow her to stay, I’d bring her back the next day. She was handed to me on a ratty rope used as a makeshift leash. I slowly rode my rusty brown Huffy bicycle home to Alto Street; she trotted along beside me. “Don’t name her!” my mother implored, knowing that to do so would be getting Edna one step into our little rental apartment, and into our lives, for good. I can’t remember whether it was my brother or I, but …

The Dogs I Have Loved: Although None of Them Are Mine

I have an abnormal love of dogs. At least that’s what a former boyfriend said when he broke up with me. (Also on the list — which you can review here — is that I’m not political enough, and that I’m a loud clapper.) I do, admittedly, have an irrational love of dogs. I love them more than humans. My favorite movie is Best in Show — and I actually go to the Westminster Kennel Club Annual Dog Show in New York City every year. (The movie ain’t too far from the truth.) I must have been a dog in a former life: I sense them from blocks away. If I had a tail, it would start to wag when I saw a furry friend on the street. I know my dog breeds cold, but please don’t ask me to pick a favorite. Although, if pressed, I’m partial to the following: Puli (Rasta dogs), Poodles (the may look wussy but they are super-smart) and Poodle mixes, along with any shaggy-looking mutt. I also know how …

Married, With Pets: Opting for a Furry Family

As I’m writing this, my 11-year-old son and five-year-old daughter are fighting over toys and running around the house. They stop and look at me, then at the cupboard where we keep the snacks. Those little faces know that I’ll give in and give up soon, meaning it’s cookie time. They’re average kids, with the exception that that they’re of the furry kind with four paws. More and more, I’m meeting like-minded marrieds in their 30s and 40s who have chosen to adopt rescue dogs — and love them just like family. You know how moms post endless baby pictures on Facebook? I love to see them and adore my friends’ children. But my own bragging is about PetSmart Basic Training graduation and how well behaved my dog is around the larger breeds. There is a special camaraderie among this group of people that are owned by their dogs. Our conversations at the dog park are very much like the mothers at the playground, except we’re exchanging training tips, discussing the latest in organic snacks, …