Should humans keep pets?

Discovered a useful website for writing exercises today. Whether you’re looking for a character, a scenario, a starting line, a subject, a line of dialogue, or even just a name for a character, this site can randomly generate a prompt for you. I found this post’s topic under “subjects” and thought it would be a helpful exercise as I iron out some ideas for a chapter book series about pets – so, here goes.

Should humans keep pets?

Well I should say – resoundingly, obviously, unequivocally yes. The real question ought to be: should “pets” keep humans? They are an awful lot of work, you know, and while the benefits to them are comprehensible to a flea (and they don’t comprehend much, at least the ones in my coat don’t), it’s not always as easy to see how we, the animals, benefit. They call us “domesticated,” believing us their dependents with regards to food, shelter, and health. They understand so little. It is humans who are dependent.

Though it shames me to say it, there are those among my fine canine brotherhood who would climb higher on the evolutionary ladder. To be man’s best friend is not enough for them. They must proceed to the top of the food chain, to the detriment of those who, for generations, have named us  and loved us as their best friends, and they will go to any lengths to climb there. Humans depend on us to keep them at the top of the food chain. You squishy, lovable, sofa-bound lumps are awfully hard to keep there when your natural inertia seems determined to plunge you into submission, scarcity, and perhaps one day extinction.

Have you heard the coyotes yipping at dusk? “Better keep Harold inside tonight,” the humans say, locking the doors and darking the floodlights. I am happy to stay, and not just because there are graham crackers in here. Out there, the coyotes are killing. Rabbits, stray cats, the occasional unlucky poodle left out on a tether. And then the necromancers come.

We dogs hear everything. We hear the death, and it makes us whine. Worse, we hear the awful, unnatural shriek of space torn open and an unwilling soul dragged back toward life, locked inside an equally unwilling body. You wouldn’t hear it, if you’re a human, but every dog in the neighborhood knows when the necromancers are at work, and that’s when the real ruckus starts. You can tell us to shut up, you can throw us a bone to keep our mouths busy, you can scoop us onto the sofa and comfort us with belly rubs, but I am telling you, there is nothing worse than that sound. We can’t control ourselves when we hear it. Sorry for the headaches, past and future.

I know how humans feel about death, but to us, it’s natural: just another point in the circle of life. Sometimes, when one of our number falls, we hear you tell crying children about “the big puppy farm in the sky.” It actually is supposed to be a lot like that, and most of us, when we reach our elder days, look forward to the green meadows and respite from aching bones and cataracts. We can’t do our job for you when we grow old and feeble. When that time comes, we are eager to go: forward, to our own comfort, leaving you in the care of a more able best friend. It’s okay. It sounds sad, but it’s really not.

What the necromancers are doing, that’s what’s really sad. The animals don’t want it; the universe doesn’t want it; and you don’t know it yet, human, but you don’t want it, either. The whole scandal is enough to make one want to be a cat. But, whether we bark, meow, squeak or tweet, we are all charged with the same responsibility: to protect our best friends from the growing ranks of those hostile breeds, and for that reason it is essential not only that humans keep pets, but also that pets keep humans.


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