Humor is Nir: Why we love pets

I lost my dog.

It was a Saturday afternoon during vacation and I decided to go on a stroll through Central Park in Manhattan with my dad. It was a pleasant way to while away the hours bonding with my father. As we sauntered through the greenery, careful to avoid stubbing our toes on syringes or trip over the various drunken bums littering the path, he went through the usual repertoire of parent-child questioning: “How is school?” “How is the food?” “What’s your name?”

Somehow during our conversation I put down my dog’s leash and when I turned around, she was gone. I’ll assuage your fear and tell you that a woman had picked her up in a supposed attempt to be a Good Samaritan and returned her to me a couple hours later, but at the time I was pretty shaken, screaming at the top of my lungs, smacking random pushcart vendors in the head. This whole episode really made me realize how attached people are to their sundry pets and how losing one feels like losing a limb, a rather hairy, drooly limb that eats dog food and poops.

I was amazed at how I could love a creature that quite frankly spends a good part of the day with its nose in its butt. Really, dogs in particular, and even cats with their holier-than-thou snobbery and menacing razor-sharp claws, a fact that makes me hesitate to make the following statement for fear of feline hate mail, are pretty darn gross. The street, the carpet and – if you’re unlucky – your bed is their lavatory. They don’t bathe or brush their teeth, and if they are fortunate enough to get their hands on any garbage, they eat it. Now for a moment imagine if you had a human friend that also fulfilled these criteria, noting that this description pretty much sums up my brother. A person who engages in these activities would be considered a freak. Plus, they walk around naked all the time. Now that’s not normal.

You must admit it – as well as lacking all social graces, animals are pretty dumb. How many times has your dog, cat, canary or sibling walked into a screen door? And how long until my pup realizes that the creature in the mirror isn’t some canine from a parallel universe bent on taking over the world? While I myself have occasionally attempted to pummel to death that badly dressed chick who follows me into bathrooms, realizing several bruised fists later that it was my own reflection, my dog recognizes herself less often.

I won’t even begin to expound on the idiocy of fish except to note that their idea of a fulfilling day is swimming to the other side of the tank. Oh, and they float around in their own toilets. Last time I tried that, my mom cried.

So why do we love them? These critters offer unconditional love. They don’t know what your grades are or care about what you did at the last frat party. It’s unfortunate GW disallows animals – I wonder how my roommate got admitted?

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.