Of Tarantulas And Sneakers For Ponies

Someone sent me a note today, asking me to discuss pets


Not that it’s a bad topic.

And not that I don’t adore dogs.

And there are some pretty interesting fish

both house style,

and exotic salt water.

Hey, some of them are even luminous.

Just as long as they don’t arrive frozen

and in breaded sticks

fine with me.

And then there are the ones with all the feathers.

All sizes, shapes, colors,

vocal quality.

You haven’t lived till you have been cursed out by a bass-voiced parrot

doing his “yo ho ho, walk the plank, you *!** landlubber.”

Or scared,

in a dark appartment,

in the middle of the night,

by a cockatoo that imitates police sirens.

Or sings Dolly Parton

doing “9 to 5.”

And then there are the times,

which I also find especially great,

when I have gotten to watch the half-time show by the Brittany Spearses of the bird world,

who have been taught by doting owners

to raise one wing while tweeting the national anthem,

or two of whom do “freak out” Millie Vanillie style.

And when it comes to animal helpers,


I get almost tearful.

A college girlfriend of mine,

for example,

had the sweetest tempered,

and dumbest-

sorry, but when it’s true it’s true-

guide dog I have ever known.

A labrador named Abby,

who was kind,

and loving,

and unfortunately spent a lot of time inventing games,


if I carry a can of dogfood over to the table,

and plunk it into the salad bowl,

it doesn’t make a lot of noise.

Or get me the attention I want.

But if I drop it on the tile floor,

or in the metal dog dish,

from how high does the drop have to be to get attention?

She and Sue played this game for hours.

Usually with Abby carrying the can through the appartment,

just out of reach,

and making continuous noise,

until Sue did the only logical thing,

and got out the can opener.

Maybe Abby wasn’t so dumb after all.

No, animals are, in general,

in my humble opinion,

a whole lot brighter than most humans.

And I had thirteen years with a very bright,

and inventive,

airedale to prove it.

In fact,

if Mugg could have talked,

we would all have settled the question much earlier about a female president.

And Mugg would have been smart enough to not use her personal phone for things.

She would have had me call.

You can learn a lot from animals.

Especially as pets.

Like that if it’s in their nature to eat someone,

that person being a vegetarian doesn’t really matter a whole lot.

Which is the kind of thing that doesn’t usually appear on facebook.

And is apparently the reason why

if what a friend told me is true,

that the Vatican pulled the plug on reading books

about talking donkeys

(or wooden boys with growing noses, for that matter,)

because you don’t learn a lot about the real world from artificial situations

with cartoon animals.


judging from the place of animals in the computer world,

to entertain

but not enlighten,

and certainly never to have a real bone in their bodies,

or do anything remotely resembling what real animals do….

Which is probably the reason why people try to keep poisonous snakes-


or hospital,

exotic animals-

“big game hunt” in a wired-off compound with weirdos hanging out of special viewing boxes- with bar, of course, to shoot illegally imported animals


“12 foot alligator found in the sewers of NY- repairman heard strange hissing noise”


how to lose friends and influence enemies,

and, of course,

guide ponies,

the supposedly faster, brighter, better version of guide dogs,

who, unfortunately, not being really meant for the city streets,

and asphalt

of modern living,

have to wear specially designed pony sneakers

to protect their feet.

Which sneakers are apparently, at the moment, a fashion statement

for both pony and owners.

And remembering the moment I, in a fit of idiocy, tried to put ribbons in the fur of our airedale,

and got a look I will never forget.

Followed by five minutes 0f rolling on my feet and pushing me away with all fours-

airedale pique…

Which brings me,

of course, to the final form of exotic animal,

and his pique.

For,  when reading this to Harald,

to see if I had written anything that would get me trolled-


he said to be sure to mention the exotic,


writing in the middle of the night,


Do they really exist, Harald?

copyright Dunnasead 2016


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