October 29, 2004

Pet Peeves

I'm not what you would call an ideal candidate for pet ownership. My track record with pets is spotty at best, demonic at worst, and mildly evil in between.
It's not my fault, really. It's just that the two dogs my family owned while I was growing up came into the family fold while I was. . . er, growing up. As such, my brother and I often didn’t understand the fine line between "playing with the dog" and "teasing the dog into insanity."

The first dog we owned was a German Schnauzer named Max; which, by the time my brother and I were done with it, may just as well have been named Hitler. Except that Max was even crazier than Hitler. Max, although a small dog overall, was graced with the strongest jaws in the world. Even sharks would have been hard-pressed to match the sheer chomping power of Max.

In addition to gnashing our couch, the drapes and several book bags to tiny little bits, Max also developed a taste for human ankle. Our entire neighborhood, and quite probably most of the town, lived in fear of our family pet. Everyone knew that, if you were to enter the Rhodes home, there was a 70 percent chance you'd be bit on the ankle, a 100 percent chance that it would hurt really bad, and a 98 percent chance it would bleed. Therefore, there were very few visitors to our house during Max's tenure.

Our next foray into pet ownership was a mutt we named Ray. Ray was a mix of many, many breeds: there was obviously a little terrier blood in him, as well as possibly some beagle blood. But, the overriding genetic trait that coursed through Ray's blood was a heavy helping of "stupid." Ray was a very, very stupid dog and, although he lacked the vise grip-like jaws of Max, he possessed twice the angry enthusiasm, in thanks primarily to the fine teasing tutelage of my brother and me.

Once again, the Rhodes family was known by pretty much everyone as the people who owned the smallest, yet meanest dog in town. Unlike Max, Ray didn't specialize in biting any one body part. If there's one positive quality about Ray, it was that he didn't discriminate when it came to biting body parts. Everything was fair game to Ray. He once bit my good friend, Joe, in the groin which, as you might imagine, didn't go over to well with Joe. Ray bit me in the face once, and he bit Jody (now my sister-in-law) on the hand. Ray could bite with a surgical precision that would leave most doctors in dumbfounded awe.

Given my less-than-stellar history with pets, it came as a shock to me to find that, about four weeks ago, I allowed two kittens to come live in my home. I can assure you that the idea of housing two kittens was not mine; it was my girlfriend's.

Originally, I started talking about getting a cat because my girlfriend brought it up and, because I was trying to watch TV at the time, I absentmindedly agreed to think about it. After awhile of not thinking about it, my girlfriend asked me if I had thought about it, at which point I lied and said "yes, I've thought about it."
All of which led to, invariably, me agreeing to get a cat. I figured that getting one cat wouldn't be a big deal. As pets go, cats are fairly self-sufficient, which means I wouldn't have to care too much about a cat strolling around the house.

Then, my girlfriend's sister's cat had to go and mess everything up by getting pregnant. Suddenly, there was a whole litter of kittens to choose from and, if there's one thing I've learned about women, they simply can NOT choose just one baby ANYTHING. Therefore, I found myself engaging in deep discussions with my girlfriend about the pros and cons of owning TWO kittens.

GIRLFRIEND PRO: They can be friends, and they won't get bored when you're away from the house for a couple of days.

RYAN RHODES CON: Yeah, but that's still TWO CATS.

GIRLFRIEND PRO: If you don't get two cats, I'll be sad, and I'll probably cry.

So, now I have two cats running around the house. And, I have to admit, they are cute, in a scratch-my-fingers-into-oblivion sort of way, and they do, indeed, appear to be friends that can get along just fine when I have to be gone for a couple of days or so.

Of course, seeing as how I have a reputation to uphold, I now have to tease both cats into such a deranged state, they're feared everywhere within a 70 mile radius.

It's tradition.

Posted by Ryan at October 29, 2004 01:08 PM

What we used to do to one of our extra stupid cats was close all of the doors in the hallway that led to my brother's room. We'd also close his door because it had a full length mirror on the outside. We would then chase the cat down the hall and watch it as it tried to jump through the mirror since it thought it saw an open hallway. She eventually smartened up after a while.

It's odd, though, as right now I couldn't imagine doing anything to hurt an animal. It must have been because I was young and stupid.

Posted by: Rick at October 29, 2004 01:51 PM

Whatever. Catblogger.

Posted by: David Grenier at October 29, 2004 02:13 PM

Hey, those cats aren't gonna' blog about themselves, you know? Actually, I submitted this as my weekly newspaper column, and I just thought I'd share it here.

Posted by: Ryan at October 29, 2004 02:44 PM
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