A cartoon by John McPherson – who excels at drawing unattractive people – shows a man sitting up in his hospital bed. Three vultures – one on the headboard and two at the foot of the bed – are eyeing him carefully. The man says to his wife sitting at his bedside, “This isn’t what I had in mind when I signed up for the Pet Therapy Program.”
I laughed, because that’s about how I would personally view a pet therapy program. It’s great for others, but keep the yapping, jumping, drooling, licking, shedding, begging creatures away from me. Instead, let me watch funny old Johnny Carson reruns where he welcomes the latest offering of Joan Embery serving as goodwill ambassador to the San Diego Zoo. Or let me wrap myself in the softness of a fuzzy blanket, which is fur enough for me.
I realize I am offending the majority of humanity by not being a pet lover, but I have had my fill. While raising daughters, our household was home to hundreds of pets (that included lots of guppies and goldfish, two baby ducks, half a dozen finches, three cats, two hermit crabs, and 42 baby gerbils – the offspring of what the pet store had assured us were two male gerbils.) According to various scientific studies, owning a pet contributes to a happier old age, but no one asked me. I am delighted aplenty by the tropical birds, turtles, and otters I see on my neighborhood walks – all the more so because I am not responsible for their care and feeding.
Ultimately I am of the same mind as Laurence J. Peter: Noblest of all dogs is the hot-dog; it feeds the hand that bites it.”
How about you?
To learn more:
John McPherson’s daily cartoons are syndicated in about 700 newspapers under the title “Close to Home,” and he is also the author or multiple books of his cartoons. You can learn more and order the first of these collections here.
You can see a hilarious YouTube video of Johnny Carson and a bush dog here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6KPcE88QoY and going ape over a baby orangutan here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8Jl4M-9rbc. Lolita, the laughing, barking and singing parrot amuses Johnny here: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xrezn_lolita-the-parrot-the-johnny-carson_animals.
And if you’d like to own the DVD of Johnny Carson Animal Hijinks, Volume 1, learn more here.
Joan Embery’s website is here: http://www.joanembery.com/. She is still active in animal conservation efforts.