Cats, Dogs and Congress

When my wife takes our dog Rodney out for a walk after dark , I don’t worry much about her safety. That’s because Rodney is a big, tough looking German Shepherd whose presence is enough to make any evil-doer wet his pants.

With the proper training, he’d be a great police dog.  He’s smart, he’s loyal, he’s athletic and, for the most part, he’s obedient.  But while I can totally see him fearlessly chasing criminals down dark alleys, he’s most of all, a friendly fellow (he IS a dog, though, so he has his moments).

On the other hand, our cat doesn’t even pretend to be friendly.  She’s just plain mean.  Her sour disposition may have something to do with the diet we’ve forced her to be on for more than a year now.  The diet means she doesn’t get nearly as much to eat as she wants — which means she’s hungry all the time — which means she’s in a bad mood all the time (unless we forget to put Rodney’s bowl up in which case she’s paws up somewhere in a dog food induced coma).

Her name is Skitty but for the life of me I don’t know why we bothered naming her.  It’s not like she ever comes when called.  If we want her we have to shake her bag of Meow Mix.  The prospect of food is the only thing she responds to.

Rodney and Skitty get along about as well as Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill.  But at least our animals agree on one thing —  the joys of the litter box. It’s for different reasons, though. Our cat sees the litter box for what it is and uses it accordingly.  Rodney sees it as a good place to grab a Tootsie Roll to tide him over until dinner.

A couple of months ago, my wife informed me that I’d have to take Rodney to the veterinarian for a quick checkup and to update his shots.  Then she told me that Skitty also needed fresh shots and that she made the appointment for both of them — at the same time.

“This way you don’t have to go out there twice,” she said as if she was doing me a favor.

But I did want to go out there twice. Or rather, I didn’t want to be driving with the two of them in the car at the same time.  It’d be like locking me up with opposing lawmakers who can’t agree on how best to create jobs.  There’d be lots of frantic barking, whining, hissing and scratching.

On the day I was supposed to take them I did what lawmakers do when faced with a thorny problem: I kicked the can down the road and put off the appointment. I rescheduled it again a couple of weeks later before finally, on the third go round,  taking a divide and conquer approach to animal transportation.

After luring Skitty into my clutches with the bag of Meow Mix, I stuffed her into her kitty carrier against her will and put her in the front seat next to me.  Then I put a doggie barrier up to keep Rodney trapped in the back of the Jeep and off we went.

At first, the barking, whining, hissing and scratching threatened to make my head explode.  But about five minutes into the roughly 15-minute drive to the vet, they settled down and the rest of our trip went off without a hitch. They even behaved themselves once we got to the vet’s office.

If only such a simple solution worked on members of Congress.

Then again, they’ve been rabid for so long I’m not sure updating their shots would do any good.

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