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Pet-a-Palooza

SAT., AUG. 30, 2003

The truth about cats and dogs is that either one makes a better pet than a ferret. Owning any animal that would just as soon lap up your blood than look at you is a bad idea, but keeping a pet that loudly crunches dried cat food at 3 in the morning and drags your socks off (singly, not in pairs) to a pile of brush behind the garage is clearly an indicator of some deeper, more disturbing neurosis. Sure, ferrets are cute – precious until they clamp down on your unsuspecting houseguest’s wrist, darling until you discover that the unholy stench coming from the back of your closet is an eviscerated rat carcass, silly until you find your $200 Mephisto pumps in the middle of the living room looking like they’ve taken a couple of spins in the garbage disposal. It’s not easy to own a pet whose behavior so strongly contradicts its suitability for domestication. There is a reason for the mink coat. It’s anger. Cats and dogs, on the other hand, are much less likely to bite the hand that feeds them, regardless of how much sweet, dark blood is coursing through it. This is not to say cats don’t have their own irritating quirks and idiosyncrasies, but merely the fact that they’ve been shedding dander and ignoring their owners since the days of the pharaohs is testament enough to their usefulness as companions. What other pet rates a statue the size of the Sphinx? Dogs, too, have been earning their keep for ages as man’s best friend, and even if they spread trash all over your living room and crap on the linoleum, you can rest assured they’re doing it out of total, unconditional love. The best thing about pets is that they are great training for relationships. Having to care for and about another living being is an essential part of being an attractive mate, and as with any good relationship, the one with your pet takes time, effort, and understanding. That’s why this Saturday you should put in some time at Pet-a-Palooza out at the Travis County Expo Center. Yes the name is an abomination, but the concept looks like a lot of fun. Of course there will be the obligatory booths hawking pet wares and services, but there will also be a Fattest Cat Competition, a Pet/Owner Look-Alike Contest, Weenie Dog Races, a Stupid Animal Tricks Contest, and a Miss/Mr. Pet-a-Palooza Fashion Show (like you needed another reason to dress up the ferret).

SAT., AUG. 30, 2003

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