Thursday, August 2, 2007

The Ubiquity of Pets

They’re everywhere! I was just checking my e-mail and found a pug staring at me from the computer screen. A bone-shaped dog biscuit appeared in the picture beside it and moved right along with my cursor--and the dog’s eyes followed the bone. What was this all about? It was an ad for on-line pet medications. Very cute! Did I shop on-line for the meds? No, but if I ever needed something for my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Lexie that I didn’t obtain from her vet, perhaps I’d consider that site.

Last night, after I watched national TV news, my husband called me back in to see a segment on one of the post-news paparazzi shows that relate too much information about stars' lives and upcoming appearances. This segment happened to feature doggy designer bathing suits. Cute, tiny pups were bedecked in bikinis and one-piece suits, and the designers and owners claimed to the interviewer that the dogs had preferences as to which to wear. I certainly believe that some spaniels and retrievers might love to leap into swimming pools or lakes, but probably unfettered by clothes. And these little guys in the story might enjoy romping on a beach, but I didn’t buy their diving into the water.

I collect articles from magazines and newspapers about interesting pets and, sometimes, incidents relating to them. Some of them give me ideas for plots and subplots for my Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mysteries. Sadly, today, there is a news item about a lady in L.A. who obsessively collects pets to the point of abuse. They’re wall-to-wall in her home, everything from dogs and cats to reptiles. I feel sorry for all the animals, and for the lady, too. I’d imagine she believed she was helping them. Unfortunately, she may have been loving them to death.

Even while I was in the U.K., I sought out stuff on pets, as must have been apparent on some of my recent blog entries. I saved a story from the Daily Telegraph about a “robodog” with a new metallic paw designed so his skin will grow into the metal. The idea is to use the technology to help in devising human prosthetics, too.

Just this week, I read an article in Parade Magazine from my Sunday L.A. Times on “How Intelligent Are Animals?” And the August 6 issue of Business Week has an adorable bulldog in tiara and multiple gold necklaces on the cover to illustrate the feature article inside: “The Pet Economy. Americans now spend $41 billion on their pets. And a lot of humans are getting rich.”

Then there’s the on-line newsletter I get almost daily from a guy called Dr. Jon. He tries to sell pet insurance and other stuff through links to his site, but he also publishes some very helpful and interesting articles, including information about people foods that can harm pets. He also gives updates on the tainted pet food scare. In addition, he makes interesting suggestions on pet names.

Oh, yes, pets are everywhere--because people love them!

By the way, please stop by and see part of my interview with Melissa Kauffman, a delightful editor at BowTie Publications, on the Bird Channel. The link’s a bit lengthy, but you can get to it easily on my home page:

And if anyone reading this has interesting articles or links to show me, please chime and post some comments for me to follow up on!


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