My wife and I share many compatibilities, which is a good thing after nearly 40 years of marriage. Up near the top of the list is our mutual agreement about pets or, rather, the lack of them.
First, let me dispel a few assumptions you’re probably already making. Neither of us is afraid of dogs, cats, or other common house pets. OK, a few of the less common ones make us uncomfortable. Say, boa constrictors. Neither one of us actually dislikes cute little puppies or pretty pussycats, although I’m not so sure we feel the same way about pet rats, but I doubt that anyone would blame us for that. (A digression: My worst summer job was doing vaginal Pap smears on 50 rats every day as part of a contraceptive research project when I was in college. The rats weren’t happy about it, either.)
No, the real issue is the Nuisance Quotient, which can be thought of as an opportunity cost:
NQ = [What I could be doing] / [What I have to do for the dog, cat, etc.]
In my book, the NQ is always unfavorable except, perhaps, for a fresh water tropical fish tank, and even that’s iffy.
People ask us whether, now that our kids are grown and married and gone, we’re going to get a dog. We say, why f**k up our lives? Now we can go anywhere, do anything, without worrying about the kids. Why worry about pets? As time has gone by, we’ve only become more resolute about this.
Another, not entirely unrelated issue, is that we’ve become intolerant the assumption made by so many people that we’ll love their pets. Getting jumped on by some slobbering pooch while sitting on the couch at a friend’s house is a) unpleasant, b) inconsiderate on the part of the pet owner, who should be keeping the animal locked up somewhere, and c) the cause of an otherwise unnecessary dry cleaning bill.
This pet thing has sloshed over onto social media, as well. Recently, I’ve noted that my Facebook page is getting bombarded by pet photos. Along with the rest of the detritus that regularly shows up on Facebook (and, presumably, other social media sites), these photos are simply unwelcome clutter posted by people with too much time on their hands. So, I’ve resolved to block the postings of anyone who repeatedly dumps Fido and Puddy into my page.
This may surprise you, but I was a zoology major in college. Animals fascinate me. But people and their pets, not so much. And don’t even get me started on people who don’t pick up after their crapping dogs…