Pet worship an industry worth billions
September 14, 2009
by Jim O'Leary

Michael Vick, the new quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, had to go to jail because he abused pit bulls.

Pit bulls? I can’t believe they put him in jail. The province of Ontario won’t even allow a pit bull to cross the border. Civilized cities such as Denver, CO have totally banned pit bulls within the city limits.

When I worked for child protective services, there were whack jobs who sicced their pit bulls on me. Pit bulls love chewing on people more than the rubber toys you can buy for them at PETS R US. All pit bulls seem criminally insane, even tied up and behind a fence. And so do their owners.

It isn’t only pit bulls. It’s all of caninekind. Dogs bite about 4.5 million people a year in the US. What is it with us that we like dogs better than people? Only two nations on earth worship pets, England and the United States.

However, if you were born on a farm like I was, you won’t worship non humans. Animals on farms were useful, not like pets, which are truly useless. Make a pet of a pig and hopefully, you were likely to dine on it before long. Cats killed the mice that ate the grain but otherwise . . . What is it with us?

We spend more money on dog and cat food than we spend on food for the poor. Pet worship is an industry worth billions. We could feed all of the hungry people in the rest of the world with what we spend on our pets.

Visit a pet supermarket some time and weep. There are toys for dogs and cats and beds for them and sweaters for them in case of a chill, unlikely as that may seem in south Texas.

They have elaborate funerals for drug dogs in law enforcement circles, but not long ago, a truck driver coming from Mexico whacked a machete at a drug dog and got shot to death for it. Nobody was prosecuted for that.

I get more pictures of dogs forwarded to me on the Internet than I get pictures of babies, and more pro dog propaganda than I care to read. Not long ago I got a message proving dogs are better than men because “you can train a dog” and “dogs mean it when they kiss you.”

I will never kiss a dog. I am not pro dog. That is, for all except my own.

Probably, the reason I am a Catholic today is because once when our dog was run over on Highway 12, I asked the nun in religion class if dogs went to heaven. All the kids laughed, but the nun said, “Well, if God wants dogs in heaven, there will be dogs in heaven. I think that Jesus, Mary and Joseph probably had a dog. Now Jesus would make sure that dog got to heaven, don’t you think?”

She thought like Will Rogers who said, “If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die, I want to go where they went.” But enough about dogs.

Don’t even get me started on the subject of cats. They kill more song birds than all the high wires in the world. They come home licking their chops after a night’s work and get fed all over again. I have been in houses where they eat at the table. I can’t even picture a cat in heaven. But a dog? Well, maybe.

But I still hate pit bulls and I will cheer like mad for Michael Vick.

- Jim O’Leary lives next door to a pit bull in Corpus Christi.