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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 ...

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.

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 ...
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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?

Throwing Them Birthday Parties


Yes, this is a thing that really happens. There are websites dedicated to it and everything. If you're one of the pet owners out there who are currently doing this, or even just planning to do it, understand this: Nobody gives a shit. Not your family, not your friends and especially not your dog or cat. House pets are content with just being fed and petted on a regular basis and having a place to sleep. They're extremely low maintenance in the emotional department. When you organize a party for your pet, what you're really doing is making it absolutely clear just how dire your need for attention has become. It's not enough that you get one special day dedicated just to you each year, but now you have to have one for your pets also? No, of course you don't. What you really need is another excuse for people to go out of their way to make you feel special.

"Does this nearly asphyxiated dog make my clinical depression look fat?"

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy cake just as much as (if not more than) anyone else, but having your local bakery whip one up in the shape of a bone and making me buy your stupid dog a gift just to get to it is where I draw the line.
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Buying "Exotic" Pets


Sure, a dog or a cat might be sufficient for "normal" people, but you live outside the lines, man. You don't play by the same rules as the rest of the world. That's why you're the proud owner of a goddamn chimpanzee. Coincidentally, that's also why your best friend is currently being mauled in your living room while you chat with a 911 operator about the best way to subdue an enraged beast who's tired of living in the captivity of your tiny home and has decided to express its anger by tearing someone's face from their skull. There is a reason that dogs and cats are the most common house pets. That reason, of course, is because they know that their role in this world is to be our loyal companions. They just naturally like the way we operate and have taken a shine to the great indoors, just like humans. You know what animals don't feel that way? All of the rest of them. Every single one. Be it a bird, fish, iguana or total fucking asshole ferret, those animals have one thing in common, and that is their intense desire to not live in a cage for your entertainment. Take the Slow Loris, for example. These adorable little critters have been popping up in YouTube videos for a few years now, with seemingly heartwarming results ...
But there's more to that video than just a cute animal being cuter than it already is. What you're really seeing is an animal whose main defense mechanism when threatened is to be as docile as possible. It's not throwing its hands up because it loves being tickled, it's just terrified and thinks that letting this cackling freak of a pet owner touch its stomach will keep it from being slaughtered. Oh, and they're also extremely sensitive to light, which explains this adorable video ...
And did I mention that the Slow Loris is one of the only mammals that emits toxins when it bites? No worries for the pet owner though, because poachers just remove their teeth with wire cutters before they ship them off to whatever shady black market sells inappropriate pets to rich assholes. And this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to exotic pets that nobody should own. But, hey, at least you get a unique pet out of all that horror. It's probably cheaper than buying a sports car to make up for all of your shortcomings.

Breeding In Negative Traits to Satisfy the AKC Appearance Standards


I accept that most of you read the title of this entry and had no idea what it meant. I wasn't all that sure myself when someone brought it up in casual conversation recently. To give you some background, the AKC stands for "American Kennel Club." These are the people responsible for deciding not only whether a dog is "purebred" or not, but also whether that purebred dog is pretty enough to partake in dog shows and whatnot. While their aim may seem innocent enough, some of the things they require of show worthy animals could very well be killing them, or at the very least, making their lives miserable. And that's not just because they have stage mom owners who live their lives vicariously through their canines. Take the absurdly cute if not somewhat 1970s blaxploitation-ish dog in the lead photo here, for example. This beautiful thing was the winner of the 2012 Westminster Dog Show, the longest running sporting event in the history of the United States. As awesome as it would be, the dog is not sticking its tongue out in some sort of Michael Jordan tribute boast aimed at the other dogs it bested. It probably just can't breathe that well. Check out this quote regarding what kind of havoc the AKC is wreaking on the dogs of the world: "As they deliberately manipulated the appearance of dogs to create or accentuate physical characteristics that were considered aesthetically pleasing, like the flat face of a bulldog or low-slung eyelids of a bloodhound, breeders also created physical disabilities. The excessively wrinkled skin of the Chinese shar-pei causes frequent skin infection; bulldogs and other flat-faced (or brachycephalic) breeds such as the pekingese have breathing problems because of their set-back noses and shortened air passages." So that's nice, we're intentionally breeding dogs to have health problems all in the name of making them look acceptable to a group of people who judge which dogs look better while doing shit like this ...
And the health problems don't end with irritated skin and breathing problems. Everything from tumors to sudden cardiac arrest has been traced back to purebred breeding standards. And this comes from the people who allegedly love dogs more than anyone else. Sorry I couldn't make this entry funnier. Fuck these people. And if you're raising a dog to live up to their Third Reich-like standards, fuck you, too.

Adam hosts a podcast called Unpopular Opinion that you should check out right here. You should also be his friend on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.

For more from Adam, check out The 7 Most Terrifying Corporate Mascots of All-Time and 5 Horrifying Food Additives You've Probably Eaten Today.

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