Steve: I think we were going to talk today about a subject that apparently is very dear to some of those Blogging Linguist members and that is pets. Now I gather Sean that you have some pets.
Sean: I have three cats right now and I've had all of them since they were very young. The first one I had is a black short haired female that I got in 1991 from a pet store in Bellingham. She has been with me ever since every day and she is the boss of the house, not me, not anybody else. What she says goes. I get up when she wants me to go out, everything is based around her needs.
My second cat, he's a Himalayan cross. The reason I know he's a cross is because he's actually one of her kittens. Steve: A tell tale sign.
Sean: Exactly so I have a black cat, a white cat, I don't know. So she's 15 and he's 13 and he just likes to be quiet and he's on his own in the corner. She beats him up all the time, he lives a very miserable life.
Jill: And she's his mother. Sean: She's his mother, so he's lived with his mother all his life. Jill: He'll never get away. Sean: No. And then the youngest one is Passe Poile which is
Steve: Getting into the multi cultural there.
Sean: French translated for Pass Hair . And she's six now. She's also fairly large but she's not fat the way the other two are. She's just a large framed cat. She's eternally a baby, she mews in her cute little way all the time and stares at you with big eyes. If you come close to her she'll push her head up to your lips so you kiss her on the head. She does whatever everybody else does after they are done so if they are all eating she'll eat but if they want her food she'll go out and wait until they are done and come in and get hers afterwards so there's a very clear hierarchal structure in that. Steve: That's good. Jill, do you have any pets at home?
Jill: I do not and I think I'd like to keep it that way. I grew up off and on having cats because my step dad is an avid animal lover. He never really wanted the responsibility of a dog; he worked all day and my mom worked all day. We were in school and so they kind of never thought it was right to leave a dog alone all day so we didn't have a dog but we always had one or two cats and you know, they're fine. I don't really have a huge love for cats. I think I can look at them and think they're cute. I don't like animal hair on my clothes, I don't like animal hair on my furniture, I don't want them sleeping in my bed, I certainly don't want them waking me up. I found that we always had to lock our cats in a different room at night because if we didn't, no matter what cat we had, they would stroll into somebody's bedroom at some point in the night and start licking or doing something that would wake us up. So, you know, I have friends, they sleep with their cats, they like their cats in their bed and their blankets and that's fine. That's just really not my thing and so you know, I think I probably prefer dogs to cats because you can actually kind of do more. You can go running with them or hiking and they just seem to have a little bit more of a personality to me so if I were to get an animal, I know there are a lot more work, but I think I would prefer a dog. Recently my mom actually did get a dog for my little sister who's just a teenager and still lives at home and she's always wanted a dog, so my mom did get one recently. Just a little one. He's actually very cute and I was never a fan of little dogs before. I always thought they were quite yucky and can't really do much with them but he's very good. He never barks and he's only six months old now so he's just very well behaved and he's gone to little dog kindergarten so he's quite well trained already. So, I think, yeah, dogs are my preference, for sure.
Steve: Well, we had a dog when the kids were young and I guess I had a lot of the work. He was a little puppy when we first got him but he ended up being quite large; a cross between Labrador retriever and a Springer spaniel. We actually kept him outside because he was pretty rambunctious. We could not train him. He was an untrainable dog. I took him to obedience school and whatever the other dogs eventually learned to do he didn't. He did what he wanted.
Jill: So he was not very intelligent, or?
Steve: I think he was extremely stupid. We used to, I remember we lived in Ottawa for a year and we had him in the back yard and we tied his leash to a clothes line, you know the old kind of clothes line, right? So, the clothes line went across the whole backyard so he could run the length of the clothes line because he had the leash tied and of course the wheels would spin and he'd go charging off. Well, squirrels knew exactly how long his leash was across the clothes line right? The squirrels would run by him five times an hour and every single time a squirrel ran by our dog would chase that squirrel. He never, ever got close to the squirrel, not a chance, not a chance, but all day long he would chase.
Jill: That's how he got his exercise. Steve: That's how he got his exercise. But no, he was a lot of trouble and he'd be out, you know we'd leave him outside in a covered sort of car port but he'd never stay there and so we gave him a fair length of leash, chain sort of thing because if it were just rope he'd be gone because he was a powerful, powerful dog. But, we had trees back in the back yard, quite a few trees so I would say every second night at 3:00am in the morning I'd hear this yelping and yowling and howling and I'd have to go out into the pouring rain and somehow try to untie him from about four trees because we gave him a long enough rope so he could roam around. So, anyway, he was a lot of work and trying to wash him which was the kids job when they were a little older, that was a lot of fun to try to get him, grab him, get him into the tub, soap him up and of course, anyway. It was fun. It was fun for the kids.
Jill: They grow on you.
Steve: Oh sure.
Jill: They do become part of the family. They're a lot of work. Steve: Dogs are a lot of work and it's very difficult to travel anywhere. But the kids loved the dog and it was fun for the kids.
Jill: How long did you have him for?
Steve: Well from until he died at the age of I guess, whatever he was, ah 12 or 13.
Jill: Oh so a long time.
Steve: Yeah, a very long time. I mean, like garbage day, he would get away and he would come back bloated from having eaten all the garbage and of course, looking guilty like he knew and he would both smile. He could actually smile like when he was teasing and you were trying to get him back and his name was Tank by the way. I would say Tank, come here, Tank, come here and he'd kind of look at you knowing he was just outside of range and he would smile. But when he came back from eating all the garbage he had a guilty look on his face because he knew he had done bad plus he knew he was about to get hit. So maybe he felt the guilty look would somehow reduce the amount of punishment he was going to get. Anyway, that's Tank. Jill: And, so you guys never had cats?
Steve: No, never had cats. I have no use for cats. They leave their hair all over the place. When they want you they come up to you and rub their back against you and purr.
Jill: And they knead and they want to sit on your head.
Steve: Well that's right but otherwise there's not much response like they go on their own. You know, they do their own thing. They're pretty independent but every so often they want to come and rub up against you. Jill: And leave behind a huge patch of hair all over your work clothes.
Steve: I know.
Sean: I know when I get ready for work and I'm wearing anything black I'll be like stay away from me, I've got my clothes on now. She'll come to walk out to me, oh no, back, back. Jill: It' the last thing, well my girlfriend has two cats. She loves cats and the last thing she does before she heads out the door in the morning is get dressed. It's the very last thing she does because she knows that if she gets dressed any earlier she'll be covered in hair by the time she tries to leave and I'm just not into that much effort, into something that requires me to put in that much more effort. I think if, obviously if you're a real animal lover, a real cat lover, that's not a big deal to you, but because I'm not. Steve: But you know I think conventional pets like cats and dogs, I mean that's fine. When I hear that people keep boa constrictors and those kind of weird pets I mean, I think that's cruel. Sean: I have a close friend that had a boa constrictor and it's a girl who lived on a farm. She had horses and cows and everything else and had her boa constrictor. She took care of it meticulously. It was a wonderful pet, it was clean, it was slow, it could never run away and it was, she'd bring it out and let it flow around her for a while and she'd put it back and it would just sit there and do nothing. The reptiles are so slow - their metabolism is so slow that you feed them once a month.
Steve: On really? Once a month?
Sean: Yeah, maintenance is very low. You just have to clean their poop out once in a while or whenever they shed you clean that out and that's it. They are taken care of as long as you keep them warm.
Jill : I think that most people who have pets like that, or often we hear anyways on the news people have pets like that, they are people who live in the city, in an apartment orâ€¦.
Sean: In a trailer.
Jill: In a house with five kids and I think they are in a small little cage or whatever and I think that is very cruel and not right and also you wonder you know, if something like that gets out. It shouldn't, to me it shouldn't, to my mind it should not be in a home with little children, a big boa constrictor. Steve : It's not what we'd normally consider a domesticated pet like animal, butâ€¦ Jill: To each their own I guess.
Steve: To each their own yeah. Absolutely.