Dear Dr Tinman: Should I get a pug, or a pet snow leopard?
Welcome to the fifth edition of Dr Tinman’s Ignorant Remedies for the Aching Soul. I am Dr Tinman, life-doctor and former explorer of the Earth’s molten core.
Life is hard. It’s full of disappointments, tragedy and jars that just won’t open, even though you did the hot water thing and the towel thing and now you have to ask someone else to open it for you - which they will and then you’ll have to joke about how you “must’ve loosened it”. But you both know that’s not true. You know you’re physically weaker than them. And now, so do they.
Sometimes, it’s just easier to log onto your favourite online retailer and use any major credit card to purchase, with free shipping, a range of self-help books - all of which are available in 27 languages, including German, French, Mandarin and the hyper-sexual eyebrow arching-based form of communication utilised by terrifying teen bride Courtney Stodden.
But enough about my range of high-quality self-help publications (now available in audio book form with a choice of three reading styles - “condescending”, “mocking” and “disappointed father figure”). Let’s get to this week’s question:
Dear Dr Tinman,
Last week, I was at my cousin’s house. He and his wife have just bought a new puppy - a little pug named Annabel. I was never really much of a pet person, but I have since found myself considering getting a pet. Is this a wise move?
I should probably begin by noting that I know absolutely nothing about your personal situation. Do you own a home? Do you have a stale job? Do you have a spouse or roommate? Do you have any severe and extremely rare illnesses or allergies? Are you living in a tent made of discarded shoeboxes in the car park of a McDonald’s, surviving off the left-over packets of sauce in chicken nugget packages and lying under cars in the drive-thru for warmth? I have no idea. For all I know, you could be a complete and utter mess - someone who is unable to even find shelter and properly bathe, let alone care for a helpless creature who is completely dependent on others for its survival.
Having said that, it is my professional opinion that you should definitely get a pet (Note: “professional” does not necessarily mean “qualified”, “experienced” or “competent”, as the stern men representing me in the upcoming class action have advised me to say).
I recently wrote about this very issue in my latest book, Puppy Troubles! Dr Tinman’s Guide to Why Your Dog has Suddenly Stopped Moving. Having seen the film “Marley and Me” (a movie about making people cry) and having spent time observing the faces of complete strangers while they play with their animals in public spaces, I know just how joyful a pet can be. They are, according to aggressively illiterate YouTube commenters, “cute”.
They are also, for the most part, extremely loyal - a quality that will prove useful when you and your partner inevitably separate (due to a heated argument over whether or not Meryl Streep’s portrayal of Margaret Thatcher was convincing) and call out to the animal from opposite sides of the room in an effort to determine who should keep it. If your pet is truly loyal to you, it will choose to live with your soon-to-be estranged partner and knowingly spare you 12 more years of endless urination and furniture-chewing.
If you do decide to purchase a pet, you will enjoy many hours of playful frolicking and taking pictures to show potential lovers at nightclubs as proof of the fact that you earn a steady income that is large enough to support both a human and a small animal.
If you’re a creative sort of person, you might even be able to write a blog about your beloved pet featuring photos and funny observations, which will be amazing because no one has ever done that before (it might even get published as a book - the first ever non-fiction publication to recount how a stubborn, but lovable animal changed the author’s outlook on life).
So, go for it! Contact your local black market exotic animal trader and get that snow leopard or endangered bear that you’ve always wanted. Love it, play with it and teach it basic commands that will enable it to efficiently and mercilessly tear apart any intruder daring enough to set foot onto your property. Then, when its bloodlust can no longer be sated by the screams of hapless intruders, let it roam free into the wild, where it will last at least three to six months before its lack of natural survival skills and inability to befriend members of its own species sees it starve and perish. At least, that was the main message in Marley and Me (I think it was, anyway - I never actually saw the ending).
Otherwise, you can always just have a child and see how that goes.
I hope that helps you make your decision.
Kindest of warm regards,
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