Animals are so uncomplicated. They don’t ask for much. They need fresh food and water every day. They have to be walked. Their litter boxes have to be clean (or God help you.) And it goes without saying they need their annual physicals and shots.
But that’s just about it when it comes to maintenance.
All they really ask is that you love them. And they love you right back. Their love is simple and pure. Unconditional. No strings attached. No ulterior motives. Other than expecting you to rub their bellies as soon as they roll over and stare at you adoringly with those soft, brown eyes.
Which, I might add, is not nearly as cute or endearing when your boyfriend does it.
Animals don’t send mixed messages. They don’t say one thing to your face and something else behind your back. They don’t say one thing and mean another. They don’t say one thing and do another. They hardly ever talk back, unless you’re eating steak (or shrimps in the case of a cat) and forget to share.
They’re not mean or nasty or cruel. They wouldn’t hurt you for the world. Or bully you. They don’t play games. Well, unless it’s fetch.
You don’t even have to buy them expensive toys. They usually tire of them quickly anyway, much preferring to steal your socks, or cufflinks, or chase tinfoil balls or wads of Kleenex.
Essentially their human companions are the focus of their attention. That and their butts. They do all seem to be obsessed with their own nether regions. Think about that the next time your four-legged loved one decides to lick your face.
Who cares, right? For some reason we never seem to mind.
Yet, assuming your husband had that kind of flexibility, if he ever tried a stunt like that you’d make him sleep on the couch forever.
Your beloved Buster or Bailey or Miss Kitty or Max would never betray you or cheat on you or use you or take you for granted. They’re loyal to a fault. When you’re sick or sad or just tired and in need of a nap they’re right there, by your side, keeping you warm, keeping you company, spreading their joy.
Speaking of pleasure, does the man or woman in your life curl up beside you every night, purring contentedly away? No, snoring does not count.
Why haven’t they rubbed off on us, these pets of ours? Haven’t they taught us anything? Why do we humans keep getting it so wrong, screw it up so badly?
Why do we turn on each other, say hurtful things to each other, spread malicious and unfounded rumours, show little or no respect for each other? Why do we take such delight when others fail?
Why do we turn our backs on those in need, those less fortunate, on injustice? Why do we spread hatred and fear instead of love and tolerance and understanding?
Why aren’t we more like animals?
No wonder, in my high school graduation year book, I wrote “the more I talk to people, the more I love my dog.”