10 Days of Travel: Day 6 – Elephants in Zambia

We got to go to Zambia for one of my wife’s work trips. Before her conference started they took us on safari. We were almost to the end and had not yet seen any elephants. We were starting to worry that we would miss out on seeing elephants in the wild when we saw this.

Elephants!

Unexpected Pets

I decided to take a break from writing about how everything sucks and write about my family’s habit of surprising me with new pets.

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It started one summer when my wife and kids had gone to Kentucky to visit her parents while I stayed behind. While they were out and about the kids saw a rabbit in a pet store and decided they desperately needed a pet rabbit. My wife called for my opinion. I was on the no side of things. I can’t recall why. They decided that getting a pet rabbit was a good thing and took it home with them. They didn’t tell me about the rabbit until they arrived home with it in the car. The rabbit was my primarily my son’s pet and then after he left for college transitioned to more of my wife’s pet. She lived a good long life, but we lost her a couple of years ago.

Our next pet was a dog. I was part of that decision and the dog is very much my pet more than anyone else’s.

My kids continued to spend part of the summer in Kentucky. While they were there why would spend time at a camp at the animal shelter. One of the things they did was take care of kittens that had been abandoned. They loved the kittens and one year decided they wanted to adopt two that were brought in together. This time no one asked me my opinion. The day they were driving home the phone rang and it was a number from Kentucky so I answered. The person on the line said they were a vet and was calling to see how Mittens was doing. I responded that I didn’t have a cat named Mittens and the call ended. I thought about it and then called my wife to ask if we now had a cat named Mittens. She admitted that we did. What she didn’t tell me was that we also had a new cat named Lucy as well. I found that out when they got home and had two cats in the car. They are very much my wife’s pets.

A few years later my daughter wanted a pet and was begging for a guinea pig. This was the year my son and I went to the Super Bowl. While we were in New Orleans I saw that my daughter had posted a picture on Facebook. The picture was of her new guinea pig. A fourth pet that arrived at my house without my knowledge. I wrote about how sad I was when the guinea pig died. My wife was away for work and Allie had been sick and wouldn’t eat. We tried to feed her as the vet taught us to get her to eat, but it wasn’t working well. At one point she started to shake and we rushed her to an emergency vet. We were too late and she didn’t make it. My daughter was devastated and I was much sadder than I expected to be. She was the last pet we have adopted.

We still have the dog and the two cats, hopefully for a long time to come. I don’t expect anymore surprise pets now that the kid are older, but you never know.

 

People > Animals

I just read an article from Michael Ausiello decrying the “shameful” portrayal of animal cruelty on the new Showtime series Shameless.  I guess Mr. Ausiello is OK with the constant portrayal of rapes and hideous murders of humans on all of the crime shows on television today.  Showtime, the “shameful” network airing Shameless has a show centered around a serial killer. I guess a hero who kills people is OK as long as he loves animals. This comes on the heels of Tucker Carlson saying Michael Vick should be executed for his animal cruelty charges and a recent discussion of Friendfeed where people put what Vick did on the same level as child abuse.

More and more I am seeing people get more outraged over cruelty to animals than they are cruelty to people.  The general public is much more willing to donate to a reward to find someone who mistreated an animal than they are to find a murderer or rapist.  I guess  part of it is that we are so used to people mistreating each other that it doesn’t seem like a big deal anymore. I do think, however, that there are a growing number of people who truly believe animals are equal, if not better, than humans.  I’m fine with people who decide to become vegetarians or vegans and donate their time and money to animal causes.  That’s great if that’s what you want to do.  I’m not fine with people who demand I stop eating animals or tell me that their dog is just as important as my children.  I agree that we should treat animals humanely, but I still believe that humans have dominion of them and that we are to use them for food, clothing, etc and that if a human life can be saved at the expense of  an animal’s life then it should be.

I love animals(some of them are quite tasty).  I cried and was very sad when my cat died this summer.  I would be just as sad if something happened to my puppy.  If someone hurt my pet, I would hurt them. These emotions are nowhere near what I would feel if the pet was replaced with a person I loved.  Maybe it’s me, but  I just don’t see how the opposite could be.