Grumpy Young Man: Helicopter pet parenting

I never heard the term “house sitting” until I moved to the city.

See, I hail from a tiny town name of Grandview, Manitoba, population 650, that is, if Elsie’s health holds up. In Grandview, house sitting isn’t a thing. Well, ol’ Jerry Yarush has been known to do a little house sitting, but that’s only after a long day of shingling.

[related_content slugs=”grumpy-young-man-tackles-game-day-at-investors-group-field,stream-of-grumpy-consciousness,grumpy-young-mans-run-for-the-cure,grumpy-young-man-thoughts-iii” description=”More Grumpy Young Man” position=”right”]

In small towns, we don’t have to housesit. We don’t even lock our doors. Sure, people will come and go, but whatever they take they’ll surely replace with a pie. That’s just how it goes in the country. Theft is perfectly acceptable if you leave a pie.

Plus, everybody knows Shirley makes the best pie in town. If you get a great pie and your vacuum’s missing, it was probably Shirley. Everybody knows Shirley’s been having problems with her vacuum.

Now, I grew up seven and a half miles out of Grandview in the country, you know, the backwoods, the boonies, the sticks, the, well that’s all the words I know for that.

Whenever we went on a family vacation – usually to nearby Yorkton, SK to stay at the Imperial 400 Motel because they had a waterslide – we’d leave the doors unlocked and a big pile of food on the lawn for the dog.

“Oh, but what if the dog eats all the food at once and dies?”

1) You must have the stupidest dog ever. 2) I’m happy to say, not once did we come home to a dead dog. Once we came home to a cow in the kitchen, but that’ll happen from time to time.

This brings me to city folk and how they treat their pets. This summer there’s been many reports of Winnipeggers leaving their pets left in parked, piping hot automobiles. Now, these people are plain stupid. You don’t leave a pet or a child in a parked car, especially in the summer heat. Same goes for your cassettes. I made that mistake once and my Ratt and Cinderella tapes haven’t been the same since. “You don’t know what you got till it’s gone.” Amen, Cinderella. Amen.

Beyond stupidity, the reason people are leaving their dogs to die in oven-like autos is because people can’t go anywhere anymore without bringing their pet along. This is what I call “helicopter pet parenting.”

Helicopter pet parents can’t go a minute without their poodle or pug. By the way, does anyone else think pugs look like they ran into the screen door one too many times?

Anyway, helicopter pet parents are the people that dress dogs like children, put cats on leashes and actually consider themselves parents, real parents.

“How’s the baby Michelle? Oh, colic, that’s tough. Yeah, I can hear her crying right now. You haven’t slept in days, eh. Sorry to hear that. Well, Mark and I totally understand because Rover jumps on the couch sometimes.”

By the way, whatever happened to Rover? Or Butch? Or Bingo? Helicopter pet parents name their dogs Dylan, Lukas and Tristan, which let’s face it, are even douchey names for people.

Also, helicopter pet parents are always telling their pets what to do. Every time I run into pet people in my apartment elevator it’s always, “Sit! Sit! I said sit Dylan. Sit!”

God forbid Dylan might want to paw at my leg, you know, like a dog. Plus, maybe Dylan doesn’t want to sit. Maybe he wants to stand right now. Just because your fat ass is always sitting doesn’t mean Dylan wants to sit all the time too.

All of the “sits”, “stays” and “downs” get to me. People say they love animals, but really all they want to do is break their spirits, not all the way mind you, but just enough so they can put pants on them.

Case in point: pet rabbits. Rabbits aren’t good pets because rabbits live their entire lives in constant fear. They don’t love you, they fear you. To them, you’re merely the scary being that brings them water and food. You think you love them, but really you just think they’re cute, which somehow justifies their caged existence.

Speaking of cages, some people go to work and leave their dogs in kennels all day. Why? Because the dog is too hyper and will destroy their home while they’re away. Simple fix: Get a kennel. Simpler fix: Don’t have a dog.

Also, I’m no animal scientist, but perhaps the reason your “behaviourally-challenged” dog is so behaviourally-challenged is because it’s been cooped up in a crate all day, expending little or no energy. If you did that to me, I’d freak out and eat some shoes too.

My parents – who still live in the sticks – recently got six kittens. They live outside. In fact, they spent the winter in an old fridge equipped with a heated blanket and an easy entrance/exit.

When I tell city people this, they are aghast. First they say “Is the fridge on?” to which I always respond “Of course.” After they realize I’m kidding, the next question is “How could your parents do that?”

I know, you’re right, animals living outside is a pretty far out concept, but I’m happy to report that all of the cats are alive. Well, one is missing, but others have multiplied so it all evens out.

And yes, the cooler kitties are happy. In fact, I’ve seen them leave the fridge in fiercely freezing temperatures to frolic in the snow. Yes, despite being cats, they’re not pussies. You however…

OK, I didn’t mean that, put the lint roller down. I’m just a country boy who doesn’t think pets belong in the house. And I have a damn good reason: Dogs don’t wipe their dirty arses.

Stay with me here. Said dirty arses sit on your carpet, your couch and your bed. Dog owners, I know you don’t want to hear this (and perhaps you can’t even read this through your conjunctivitis), but the fecal content of your house is through the roof. Not to mention all the freaking hair everywhere, to the point where you’ve had to eliminate black from your wardrobe.

On second thought, pick that lint roller up. And a mop. And a vacuum. Hey, where’s the vacuum? Goddammit Shirley!

Ooooo, a pie!

Jared Story is a stand-up comedian and freelance writer. Yes, it’s a pen name. His real name is Dave, Dave Story. Follow him on Twitter at @jrockarolla.