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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Meet My Shrew

Lately I’ve noticed an increase in the number of dogs I’ve seen in public places, like grocery and drug stores, and in locales, at least in this country, you normally don’t see dogs. I read something somewhere about “emotional support dogs,” which to me is redundant, because, for the most part, what dog isn’t an emotional support dog?

So I did a little research, and it turns out for a fee you can get official certificates, stickers, tags, bracelets, necklaces, etc., that proclaim your dog is needed to be with you always in order for you to maintain your stability.

No one would dispute the fact that I am a real sucker when it comes to dogs. I’m still spiraling down over the loss of my boxer just over a month ago. And you could probably get a handful of people who would testify to the fact that I am borderline emotionally fragile. No, seriously! But I’m not going to take advantage of the ADA’s ridiculous conclusions about need and depression.

True, there are genuine-need psychiatric service dogs that actually work for a living. They will clear a room for someone with PTSD who is afraid of new places and will keep a severely depressed, preoccupied person from, say, straying into traffic. This I understand and think is legitimate.

But come on. You really need that quivering Chihuahua to accompany you to Home Depot to buy bromine for your hot tub? Get a teddy bear, for Chrissake! Home Depot employees are not paid enough to clean up your rat-dog’s nervous vomit.

And, it doesn’t have to be an emotional support DOG. It can be an emotional support CAT. C’mon, cats are only emotionally supportive of themselves. They are self-centered and couldn’t give a shit about you. Cats don’t need you. That’s why there are feral cats. They can hunt down their own food and take care of themselves. They’re certainly not going to take care of you. Seriously, you get support from an animal that sprays your drapes?

I think this whole big bag of BS is just a sneaky way to get your pet on a plane for free or go over and above the canine weight restrictions imposed by your condo board.  There are doctors in Florida who think nothing about writing 20,000 prescriptions for OxyContin every year. Surely if you put your feelers out, you won’t have a problem finding a shrink to sign a statement of need for you to have your Great Dane to take up half the space in your South Beach efficiency.

I would so love to get an emotional support Tasmanian devil. But they are on the endangered species list, so I wonder if I can get an emotional support shrew instead? (Be careful; she’ll scratch out your eyes and bite off your genitals, but she brings me such calming comfort.) How about an emotional support piranha? I could put him in a little fishbowl on wheels and pull it into the theater with me.  Yeah, that’s Herb, my emotional support fish. You want to pet him? Let’s wait until intermission.  Careful, don’t upset that basket next to you. My emotional support cobra, Strike, is in there, and I haven’t fed him his rat this morning.

Okay, I could see why someone would use this opportunity to get over on a dogophobic landlord or forego the pet cargo airline fees. What I don’t understand is how anyone could admit to it.  What you’re basically saying is that you’re alone in the world except for that animal. How insulting to your relatives. Oh, well, my husband and kids can’t provide me with love and encouragement and joy, so thank God I have Precious here. If she gets out of eyesight, I need a Valium.

And really, isn’t that a lot of pressure to put on an animal? What if you go to all the trouble of investing in a dog, not to mention the bother and expense of getting it ADA certified and start sessions with a psychiatrist who will pin a note to your shirt, and then you find out the dog can’t fulfill the task? When we first got Bungee, she ate watches, remote controls, entire bags of bread (with the bag),  chewed the corners off tables, shredded newspaper, and made it look like it snowed inside by ripping open couch cushions and spreading the stuffing hither and yon. She would eat her shit off the living room floor and then proceed to puke it up in every room of the house. You call that emotional support? I call it domestic terrorism. If your psychiatrist could only see what your boxer was capable of, he would tear up that note and have you committed.

All I’m saying is: Just stop it. Suck it up, for Chrissake. Stop pretending to be so fragile and enjoy what life has to offer and get over yourself already. And get a pet if you want. Hell, get a houseful of pets if you are so inclined. But keep them in your house. They’re probably a lot happier there on their chair than they are in your shopping cart.


Creative Commons License by Bill Wiley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

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