Epiphoney Columns

How to domesticate

There are two kinds of people, those who keep pets and those who like to dress up as pets. For the latter, there are lavish clubs and a host of equipment that you can have delivered home. Trouble is being walked on a leash in the neighbourhood isn’t easy if others are still tackling basic binary-gender conundrums.

But today isn’t about the furry folk, it is about the furries. Okay, that’s only more confusing; I mean pets. Still not clear? How about the kind that walk on four legs, beg for food, and drool. Definitely not helping. Guess I will just park the leather collar differentiator for now then.

Fine, I am talking about dogs and cats, and maybe birds, but not in the misogynistic sense. Here are the five things you need to observe as a pet owner. If you don’t listen now, you stand to lose all friends, allies and even people who were potentially on your will.

Second names: It is bad enough that we play out our degenerate fantasies on these unsuspecting animals, naming them after things that were our emotional triggers but that we are too shy to get tattooed on us. But then to qualify them with a familial second name, trust me, the animal was just as disgusted with the first name and if it weren’t for the treats and air conditioning, they would have migrated en masse decades ago. If Mr Fluffy Gupta knew any better, he’d cause physical bodily harm before departing.

Tricks: For pets, life is one long boring Halloween, but one without a choice. It is always a trick followed by a treat. Barring the odd clumsy guest who keeps dropping food and becomes an immediate favourite with them. Stop making pets work for your amusement. Imagine if your parents made you come out and perform every time there were guests over… oh my God, I just realised that I was merely a pet proxy for my parents and my childhood was a sham.

Chains: If you need to tie up a pet — either for the pet’s or the guests’ security — then one of them wasn’t properly trained. And since pets can’t talk, I suggest you have a long hard ponder about the kind of people you are letting into your house. Socially distance yourselves for life from people who are scared of animals.

Poop: If your pup poops, you gotta scoop. At home I do it resolutely because it is either that or else live in one ever-growing compost pit. Outside I try and mix it back in patches of dirt and soil in the park. But even I admit that I need to be better at this. One can’t go on living in India simply for that one glorious reason that no one else admonishes us for not cleaning up after our dogs in public. Remember that vets and shrinks are both qualified doctors so when either tells you to “clean up your dirt”, consider it sage advise.

Toys: Pets are like babies. You can buy them all the frills and all they want is a cardboard box to chew on. Well, dogs and cats are exactly the same. So in this one regard, treat your pups and progenies alike — let them find out what they like to play with. If you need too many props to make things creative then you lack imagination. Again, don’t let your mind wander anywhere dirty. Oops, too late.

This column is for anyone who gives an existential toss.

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Printable version | May 17, 2021 5:56:07 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/how-to-domesticate/article34107653.ece

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