Angela related this true story (it happened to friends of a friend of hers) last week.
A couple went on vacation, leaving a petite college girl to look after their house and their large Labrador. One day, the girl returned from grocery shopping to find the dog dead. Of course, this is any petsitter's worst nightmare, and the girl was terrified that her employers would blame her for the dog's death. Panic-striken, she called the vet, who told her to bring in the body for an autopsy to determine the cause of death.
Unfortunately, the girl didn't own a car, and her only friend with a car had left town. She also didn't have enough money for a taxi. So, she found the largest suitcase in the house, stuffed the dead dog into it, and caught the subway.
The dog, being an enormous Lab, was very heavy, and she had some difficulty lugging the suitcase onto the train. Luckily, a kind stranger offered her a hand. "Wow, this is heavy! What have you got in here?" he asked her.
Naturally, she didn't want to say it was a dead dog, so she made up a lie on the fly. "I'm moving house, and I thought it would be easier to carry all my electronics to my new place in one trip," she explained.
When she arrived at her destination, she had trouble once again lifting the suitcase off the train, so she asked for the stranger's assistance again. "Sure!" he replied. He took the case, punched her in the stomach, and ran off.
The poor girl was now faced with not only telling the couple that their dog was dead, but that she had lost his body (and their largest suitcase). But even funnier is the image of a petty thief racing home with what he thinks is a giant bag of expensive electronics, only to discover that he's stolen a large dead dog.
I'm told the couple, being upset by the death of their dog but delighted at the ridiculousness of the situation, were not angry at their petsitter and wholeheartedly believed her story (lies are never this brilliant).
One day, George W. Bush hears that three Brazilian soldiers have been killed by insurgents in Iraq. The president is mortified. He goes into mourning for days. Eventually, Dick Cheney visits the Oval Office to console him. "Come on, George, it was only three Brazilian soldiers."
"Wait, how many is a brazilian again?"
When Matt and I discuss cats, it's like we're talking about babies. The day I brought Tripoli home, the conversation when Matt stepped in the door went something like this.
"Matt, I have something to tell you. Please don't be mad. Look!"
"You're not mad, are you?"
"Um. I guess if we make a few changes to our budget, we might be able to afford this. Maybe I could get a second job."
"Matt, it's only a cat. I'm not pregnant or anything."
In the time since that day, we've come to realize that, more than any other cat that either of us have ever known, Tripoli craves company. She loves other cats, and will often chase down neighborhood cats like a puppy. It's bothered me for some time that she must get horribly lonely whenever Matt and I aren't home. We discussed the possibility of another cat a few times, but made a tentative agreement to wait until we moved to West Chester.
The other day, though, we saw Meathead and Anita's two cats. I think that's created a small shift in our thinking.
Yesterday, while driving through the West Shore...
"Hey, a pet store!"
"Do you think we should get another cat?"
"What? No, we shouldn't."
"Matt! Don't say that! You make me want to get another cat now!"
"Well, why don't we?"
We didn't get one right away, but we are seriously thinking of finding one in January. The humane society has a lot of full-grown cats who need homes. As long as he or she had very short dark hair, it wouldn't be too bad in our apartment, which is pretty big - and we live on the first floor, so they could go outside in the summer.
The only problem is that moving with two cats is much more difficult than moving with one. Oh, I don't know. Tripoli gets so lonely.
We express all our parental instincts through being cat owners. However, there are many key differences between cats and babies.
- You can leave cats by themselves without fearing they'll drown in a bucket of water
- Cats don't scream for hours on end
- It is possible to have a cat and a guilt-free social life
- Cats feed and wash themselves, and don't wet their pants
- Cats get rid of mice and other pesky vermin
- The screaming thing is worth another mention
- Cats don't suddenly hate you when they become teenagers
- There is no need to blow your life savings on your cat's college education
Matt and I think all of these points are very important.