Pets are a wonderful thing. No matter how sad or depressing your life may be, it's always just a little bit better knowing you have a loyal pet by your side. But being a pet owner is a tricky proposition. Something about being able to "own" a living thing seems to drive some people to the point of madness. Crazy cat ladies don't earn that title because of their rational behavior and robust social skills, you know? They earn it, in part, because they love cats so damn much that having 57 of them living in a squalid one bedroom apartment somehow seems like a good idea. But the crazy cat lady is just the most extreme version of what can happen when pet ownership goes awry. Some people display their insanity and inner-dickishness in more subtle ways, and the poor pets are always the innocent victims. Here are six stupid things pet owners must stop doing ...
#6. Naming Their Pets After Their Own Interests and Aspirations
Picking a name for your pet is not the time to prove your superiority to the world. Having a dog named "Dostoyevsky" and a cat named "Nietzsche" is not going to make people think you're blessed with a superior intellect. They'll just think you're a pretentious dick, which you are. Rest assured, you're not going to fool anyone into believing that you really think "Francisco Goya" is a good name for an animal. What will be very clear, though, is that you live your life quietly begging the world to bring that name up so you can talk at length about your vast knowledge of Spanish painters and, by extension, bore the shit out of everyone within earshot. In short, what I'm saying is don't use your pet's name to give people another reason to hate you. Just wear an Ed Hardy shirt if being disliked is so important to you.
It works every time.
You should also not use your pet's name to give people another reason to think you're a degenerate binge drinker. So skip the alcohol themed names as well. You know what kind of pets are named "Jack Daniels"? The kind that end up in rescue shelters because their owner was found sleeping it off in a ditch 600 miles from home with alcohol induced amnesia. If you're even entertaining the thought of naming your pet after booze, it's probably a good sign that you're not ready for the responsibility of owning a pet (and that you have a severe drinking problem). Oh, and it should go without saying that if you name your pet "Bentley" or "Porsche" or any other luxury brand name, people immediately assume you have shitty credit and a home in foreclosure. Just a heads up.
#5. Dressing Pets Up In Anything More Than a Collar
"Hey, that dog is wearing a baseball uniform, how adorable!" is a sentence that only the craziest of crazy people will ever let escape their lunatic mouths. Rational people see a pet wearing people clothes and, noticing the look of unspeakable sadness on its face, just feel sorry for the poor thing. Pets grow their own clothes, it's not a process that requires your intervention.
Pictured: A dog thinking about converting to Judaism.
Sure, maybe if you have one of those shivery little dogs that chicks carry around in purses, throwing a sweater on it during inclement weather is a fine idea. Those poor little pups look like they're always freezing, they can use the extra warmth. But putting shoulder pads and a helmet on your Saint Bernard because the Jets made the playoffs is like two steps away from full on animal abuse. The only person who thinks this is a good idea is you. The rest of the world just assumes you're a lonely old spinster who never found someone to love you and therefore never had kids that you could torture with your absurd fashion sense. And they're probably right. Hey, speaking of kids ...
#4. Getting a Pet to Practice Being Parents
It seems like a good idea on paper. There is a lot of responsibility that comes with owning a pet, so what better way to gear up for the rigors of parenthood than adopting an adorable little animal, right? It will be just like having a kid! Sure, except for the part where kids are living, breathing human beings that can't simply be locked in a bathroom or tossed in the backyard when they're being too loud, which they absolutely will be for at least the first 12 months. You also can't put a bowl of food on the floor and leave your newborn alone for 6 hours while you go out and get hammered and expect everything to be good times when you return. Raising a pet is to raising a child what the Olive Garden is to eating Italian food. They are not even kind of the same thing, and to suggest that the two experiences are similar is nothing short of disrespectful.
When you're here, you're family ... and every other restaurant had a 45 minute wait.
And what becomes of that poor pet once you've convinced yourself that your ability to competently play fetch with a collie means you're ready to have children? It's not like you took that pet in out of love, you just did it as some kind of stupid experiment. Once you finally have that kid, the pet is going to be pushed to the side and ignored, because you never wanted it in the first place. You just wanted someone or something to validate your belief that you're ready to procreate. Maybe, instead of testing out the parenting methods you learned from reading Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother on some unsuspecting pug, you should consider getting a plant instead. You don't see neglected ferns in those depressing SPCA commercials, do you?