A pet safety primer

It is obvious to most people that you should keep your dog on a leash so he doesn’t get hit by a car, have your pets spayed or neutered, and keep your kimodo dragon in a proper enclosure. So how is it that we have a TV program with dramatizations of real instances in which people keep flesh-eating lizards, venomous snakes, and tigers as pets?

Even if your pet crocodile is very sweet natured (when he’s not eating the family cat), that’s no reason to let your kid take him for show-and-tell at school. I believe that ostriches in their natural element would rather disembowel you with a well-placed kick than let you scratch behind their ears. I haven’t found anyone willing to test this theory, so it will have to remain conjecture for now.

I feel sorry for the once proud creatures subjected to animal husbandry at its worst. I watched a video clip recently where a woman was demonstrating the proper technique for grooming an opossum. I kid you not, she got nail polish and painted his little possum toenails. The poor little critter had a look on his face that clearly said, kill me now! Who in their right mind thinks like that?

With the exception of reptile owners, most of the eccentric llama lovers are elderly. Capybaras, leopards, bears, and emus are allowed to roam freely through these misguided seniors’ homes. I have trouble getting up from a squatting position without holding onto something, so constantly bending over to clean up penguin poo is just not in the cards. My suggestion is that you check under the sofa for free range hedgehogs before you have tea and cookies at your dear Aunt Maddie’s house.

What I don’t understand is why people would choose to have pets that would happily eat them when their backs are turned. Unfortunately, my cat is not immune to this response. He especially likes to pounce on our feet when we’re in bed and try to chew his way through the down comforter to rip at warm flesh. I’m not tempted to say, “Aww, isn’t that cute!” at 3:00 in the morning.

So what have we learned, people? Be a responsible pet owner and don’t bite off more than you can chew. Your six foot alligator will get pretty testy if you try to flush him down the toilet.

12 thoughts on “A pet safety primer

  1. I’ve always wanted an alligator purse…

    Just kidding. People don’t think when they get exotic pets. They’re cute and small when you first get them, but then, as with any animal, they grow up and get BIG! So, then that’s when they get “rid” of it. Yeah, so not a good thing to see walking down the street. Although, I must admit, I kind of think hedgehogs are kind of cute…

    • I once saw a pet cayman eating a rat. He was knocking it against the side of the tank until there were blood smears on the glass. Somehow that’s not my idea of cuddly.

  2. I loved this! I always wonder about people who have these ridiculous animals for pets too. They won’t even admit they’re dangerous after they’ve eaten their six year old grandchild. Just misunderstood.
    You’re right about seniors having the most dangerous and crazy “pets.” Just a thought: Perhaps something happened to their brains during the “drug craze” of the sixties. Who knows what they took and what they really see when they look at their sweet, cuddly, little Hyena.

  3. The most dangerous pet I’ve ever had was a Doberman.

    She was a sweetheart, took to training very well, and would let kids pull at her ears without a whimper…

    Until the day she was hit by a car and I rushed up to her, reached out my hand, and had her teeth come within a micrometer of my flesh…

    Amazing event–anyone esle would have had their hand ripped away but she loved me.

    Still, it scared the shit out of me……..

    • I don’t know what my dobie would do if he was hurt. I’m hoping that he would refrain from chewing on my throat.

  4. This is one of my pet peeves. I could write a non-fiction book bigger than all the Harry Potter books put together. Some animals were not meant to be ‘pets’. We forget to treat all species with respect – and some with a long distance between. And what is up with painting their nails and dressing them in clothes? Have we gone that insane? As for senior citizens, maybe they can’t see or smell good enough to know what the pet is.
    Want a laugh mixed with huh? Look up ‘extreme poodles’. Poor lonely wealthy women.
    Great blog, Karla.

  5. It’s just wrong to keep these creatures captive. Years ago, my mother was on a TV show with Carol Perkins, whose husband, Marlin, was host of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom for many years. Mrs. Perkins told mom that all wild animals, no matter how well they seem to get on with humans, will all eventually revert to type. They’re wild and will act accordingly.

  6. I lived in a townhouse in Colorado Springs, and my next door neighbors were four bachelors in their 20s and 30s. They had pet snakes over there, and one time I was on my patio, sunning, and one of the guys looked over the fence at me and said two of their snakes had escaped, and to be on the lookout. I didn’t sleep at all that night. My nerve endings begat nerve endings and I found every last one. The snakes, however, weren’t found until the next day, and they were still in the guys’ apartment, sleeping life away in the corner of a closet. I don’t get snakes as pets. The only good snake is a dead snake.

    • I had a pet snake for many years. I wanted everyone to love this misunderstood creature. Turns out, misunderstood creature preferred to take a dump on any shirt, pant leg, or shoe she could find. Oddly, my friends didn’t warm up to her.

  7. But think of the daily excitement owning a dangerous, exotic beast! Every day you have the thrill of will I live or will I be mauled to death?! You can’t pay for that kind of fun (other than plunking down a couple grand to have the illegal creature shipped your way of course…).

    • What gets me is how these people can possibly be surprised when their pet warthog turns on them. “Hubert was just having a bad day,” she says while clutching at a gaping chest wound.

Comments are closed.