December 9, 2016

Forum: Dogs, Cats Or ? What’s Your Favorite Pet?

Every week on Monday morning , the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week’s question: Dogs, Cats Or ? What’s Your Favorite Pet?

Fausta’s Blog: I’m very allergic to cats, so I can’t have any contact with them.

Dogs are nice, but at this point in my life I don’t want the responsibility, so I visit my sister and hang out with her dog, who enthusiastically greets me at the door.

The Daley Gator : Dogs, no contest! They are called man’s best friend for very good reasons. Mainly the closeness you can get with a dog that just is not there with a cat, at least to me. I recall being 18, and heart-broken over a girl. As I sat on my bed, head hanging down, here came my dog. He just laid his head on my knee, and looked at me, as if to say it is OK.

The Razor : The older I get the more I like animals and the less I like people. As for cats vs dogs, both have their charms. I have 7 of each, the eldest being a 20 year old cat I raised from a kitten in Japan, down to a 6 month old Rottweiler mix puppy who bangs the kitchen cabinets like a drum when he wags his tail. All are rescues – the 20 year old cat from a plastic bag in a dumpster in Kyoto, the Rottie puppy running under parked cars as a 5 week old puppy at the local WalMart.

Cats vs Dogs… Cats are independent and perfect when you are young and relatively carefree. They aren’t needy the way dogs are, but it’s nice when one decides to curl up on you uninvited. Dogs, on the other hand, require a lot of effort. They are pack animals and can’t be ignored. The other day an early Spring storm rolled through and I had all 7 dogs either on me or within a few inches of me. They are also underfoot which can make them dangerous some times, because they always want to do what you are doing or see what you are seeing. Cats really don’t care – although the 20 year old cat like an elderly old lady has a nightly routine you could almost set your watch by where she curls up first with the Wife and then with me.

When one animal passes another inevitably finds the open niche in our hearts, transforming it into his or her own. When I cross the Rainbow Bridge I only hope that I have a multitude of hands to pet them all.

Bookworm Room : Pat Shipman, an anthropologist, believes that dogs helped humans become the earth’s dominant species, giving humans the edge over Neanderthals and dominance over animal predators. Dogs and humans were natural hunting partners, since dogs could sniff and chase, while humans, using weapons, could do a long distance kill. (Dogs could only do close kills, which put them at risk.) When humans transitioned to farm life, dogs protected them against predators, both human and animal.

In other words, where would we be without dogs? And can anyone say the same thing about the human/cat relationship?

I also believe that our ability to form bonds across species is part of the necessary empathy development humans need to be civilized. Societies that cut themselves off from dogs (and I’m naming no names here) miss that developmental phase and it damages them, leading to cultures of unusual cruelty. They have less empathy because they’ve had less natural scope to develop it.

Finally, at a personal, rather than intellectual level, I just love dogs. I love that they wear their hearts on their sleeves, I love that that we’re so important to them, I love that they can be (and want to be) trained so as to live in more harmony with us, and I love their playfulness, cuddliness, affection, and loyalty. As far as I can tell, the only real advantage cats have over dogs is that cats make for funnier videos.

 The aged lady on the left is my Chihuahua/Australian Heeler mix; the feisty lad on right is my mostly Chihuahua, a little bit Fox Terrier mutt.  The latter, especially, is my darling, loving me with a passion unique to Chihuahuas.

Laura Rambeau Lee,Right Reason :With my lifestyle and personality I have always had an affinity for cats. I have taken in many feral kittens in my life and there is no better feeling than winning the trust of a wild cat. I suppose I relate to that initial hesitation to trust people too until they have proven they are worthy of my trust. Cats are independent, they can be aloof or playful depending on their mood, and do very well when left to themselves. With both myself and my husband working odd hours and going away for long weekends a cat is the perfect pet. Having a dog would be unfair as we are not at home enough to give the attention and time needed to walk and play with them. We have talked about getting a dog when we retire. Both bring so much joy into our lives in their unique ways and I can’t imagine not having a cat or dog, or both, in our home.

I think the meme of the cat and dog sums up their differences perfectly. The dog thinks “Wow, this human takes care of my every need, he must be a God” while the cat thinks “This human takes care of my every need, I must be a God.”

The Glittering Eye : Over the course of my adult life I’ve had rabbits, cats, and dogs as pets. They’re all great and which you prefer depends on what you want in a pet.

Cats are beautiful and don’t much care whether you’re there or not as long as you give them food and water. If they want to play, they might seek you out or they might not. Cats are nocturnal which means that they’re predisposed to be most active when you’re the least active.

Rabbits have a lot more personality than you might think and otherwise they’re not unlike cats without the claws and sharp teeth. They’re relatively easy to keep and tend. They might reward you with a little companionship if they’re so inclined.

Dogs are needier than cats or rabbits. Food and water and a place to eliminate aren’t enough for them. They need to be part of a family. Like rabbits dogs are crepuscular; most active at dawn and dusk. That’s convenient if you work an ordinary 9 to 5 job because they’re most active when you’re getting ready for work and when you get home and are quite content to sleep while you’re at work or asleep.

Virginia Right!: My family are all dog lovers. I have 2 siblings and they have a few dogs each. Can’t really keep them straight, but I think they both presently have 3 dogs.

We have just two at my house, both are large dogs. I am not a fan of the little “yappy” dogs, but I have nothing against them. Just prefer the larger breeds.

Both of my dogs are mixed breeds and both are rescues.

Layla is a sweet natured girl that is somewhere around 60 – 65 pounds. She is part yellow Lab and part Boxer. She is very laid back and has a unique greeting when anyone comes in the house. She grabs a stuffed toy in her mouth and goes up to the person yelling “woo hoo”. Just a happy 8 year old puppy.

The newest addition is also part Lab – we think chocolate Lab and part Irish Setter. We have had him for about 3 months now and he is around 8 months old. But he is already over 50 pounds of solid muscle. HE has eaten a sofa and several pillows and blankets. And 4 or 5 dog beds. I now wrap the beds in canvas tarps. But he has chewed through that too.

Layla is a house dog and Marley loves outside. He is a house dog too, but will spend as much time as he can in our yard. (Fenced in.)

We got a couple feet of snow last month and the drifts were higher. He was a bit skeptical at first when he saw the snow. But within a minute, he accepted it and decided he likes it. He REALLY likes snow. The snow was almost as tall as he is but he ran through the yars as fast as he could and reminded me of a dolphin following a boat. He had a smooth up and down running motion and looked like a blur. He does not feel the cold and his coat keeps him dry. I had to yell at him several times to make him come in. It was pretty cold and you don’t want to leave pets out in that weather, but he was having a ball.

Yea, both of my dogs have music names. Layla from the Clapton song and Marley is, of course, Nesta, also known as Bob Marley.

I had not seen the film Marley and Me before I named him. My wife and I watched it a couple of weeks ago and I think another name would have been better.

 If you have not seen the movie, it is absolutely hilarious. But at the end of the movie, we turned the movie off. So I opted for the funny movie with the happy ending. By turning off the last few minutes.

Marley and Layla act like siblings. They love each other, but get into wrestling matches. Unfortunately, in the house as well as outside. Sounds like two bear cubs fighting.

But my dogs are a part of the family. Our daily routine includes my pups. I have had a lot of dogs in my life, and a few periods without.

I like the “with” times far better than the “without” times.

Anybody have a couch for sale? Make that two!

 Puma By Design : Growing up, we had two dogs and no imagination. Both dogs were named Boots.

Boots #1 arrived on the scene after my parents took a trip to Harlem one evening. She was a tiny thing, a mutt of mixed breeds but what Boots # 1 lacked in weight and bloodline, as she grew up, she made up for in spirit.

I recall Boots #1 was such in ill health when she arrived that my mother had to cook a special diet of eggs and beef as instructed to boost Boots #1’s immune system.

Since we lived in a dangerous neighborhood and in an equally dangerous apartment building, Boots was not allowed to mingle with anyone but immediate family members. Even our friends were off limits.

It was not long before Boots had the junkies down the hall and on the second floor on the run.

You see, it was because of the junkies that my parents decided to get a dog.

We would hear the junkies down the hall playing with their key in the apartment door lock from time to time and since my parents knew that it was just a matter of time before their keys worked and ours did not, my parents decided to beat them to the punch by getting a dog.

By the time Boots #1 was five months old, the junkies decided to go elsewhere. When they would come anywhere near our apartment door, Boots #1 would let out a bark so ferocious that people refused to believe that such a bark came from this little dog who also had the strength and might to rip a junkie to shreds.

Then there was the male Alaskan Husky down the hall named, Oliver. Oliver was four times Boots’ side and a coward.

If Miss Ludell was walking Oliver at the same time that my brother was walking, Boots, the moment they made eye contact, poor Oliver would run for his life up three flights of stairs and back into his house with Boots not far behind.

My mother would always hear Boots barking, us screaming and catch Boots just in time. As for Miss Ludell, by the time she climbed three flights of stairs and entered the apartment, the whole building could hear her shouting at poor Oliver, “I can’t believe you’re afraid of that little dog.

Hmmm, such is life in the ghetto.

Finally, Boots became an even bigger hit with my parents once their daughters began courting. The boys would told to sit on the sofa, the girls in a chair opposite them with Boots in the middle staring hard at the boy, letting out this low growl and blocking any type of physical contact.

There was no hand holding, no nothing and the boy had better not blink or fidget. So where were my parents, cheerfully in the other room relaxed, reading the newspaper or watching the evening news.

While I love cats, what cat could compare?

   Well, there you have it.

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