Category Archives: Pets

Rescue Pets

The thing about watching Christmas TV in a turkeyed-out haze is that you can easily miss things. For instance, if it weren’t for Mrs Bison’s careful attention to meaningless ads I would have completely missed the commercial for the Rescue Pets Train & Play Puppy. Let’s gloss over for the moment the fact that, in the interest of cuteness, this monstrosity has the kind of massively oversized eyes that make you wonder if it shouldn’t have been humanely destroyed, or at least renamed “Rescue Pets Genetic Freak Aberration Puppy”. No, the “fun” thing about this particular toy is that you can feed it a plastic biscuit (included) and it will then walk off and deposit said biscuit as “poop”, to the apparent delight of the kids in the commercial.

I believe that this toy is supposed to introduce kids to the reality of owning a pet, prior to them heading off to the pound with mum and dad, and picking up the real thing. However I believe I have spotted the minor flaw in this plan. You see, when the Rescue Pets Puppy drops its guts, you just pick up the plastic biscuit; you can stick it right back in the little bastard’s mouth, or, if you are so inclined, in your own mouth, with no ill effects whatsoever. (Unless you happen to be one of Darwin’s “special” children, and swallow the plastic biscuit.)

In the real world of dogs they don’t deposit a small plastic toy right where you expect it. They leave you a massive pile of foul-smelling, sometimes worm-infested ordure, and often where you least expect it. Yeah, let’s replay the commercial and see how the three little girls react when the dog leaves a steaming pile of logs on the table. Who’s going to be laughing and rushing to pick it up then? Ready for your trip to pick out a REAL rescue puppy girls? Just grab a hold of that festering heap of warm, recycled kanga chunks and feel it ooze through your fingers as you scurry to the toilet / trash can / back door.

Herein lies the beauty of electronic toy pets. For a start they have an OFF switch, so you won’t be awakened in the night by scratching and whining. They can be thrown away when they break, with no vet bills, and your running costs are limited to a couple of sets of AA batteries, before the kids get bored with watching the biscuit fall out of its synthetic fur arse. They need no feeding, worming, inoculating, exercising, grooming or attention, and as such are completely useless as a means of preparing for the reality of caring for a dog.

What’s more, I’ve been to the rescue dog place, and let me assure you that it’s not full of puppies. It is, however, extremely well-stocked with pit-bulls. And excrement. And more pit-bulls. There’s an assortment of sad older dogs which part of you wants to bring home so they can be loved again, but you can’t help wondering if the reason they’re there in the first place is that they snapped one day and ripped a little boy’s arm off. I mean, if you were shopping for an adopted grandpa you probably wouldn’t start at the local Salvation Army hostel, would you. Sure, there’s some good guys down there, but the odds are high that you’d end up with a meth-addled serial masturbator with klepto tendencies.

Plus, adopting an old dog is like buying an old car – the nice smell is gone, and you’re on the hook for the expensive maintenance as it breaks down all the time. And there’s always shit coming out the back end.

Maybe, for added realism, there should be a Rescue Pets Savage Pit Bull Puppy. Abused since birth, forced to mate with it’s own mother and repeatedly fight in order avoid having its skull crushed by a black NFL player, it is now ready to come home with you and join your family. Only, WATCH OUT, as it randomly attacks a child and bites their finger in a “plastic biscuit poop” synthetic version of real canine violence. That should get the kiddies ready for the joy of being savaged by a seventy pound Chinese Shar Pei rescue dog like that kid in Wolverhampton.

Or just take a big shit on the floor, then have the kids pick it up and take it for a two-mile walk in a bag. Every day for three months. Then they’ll be ready for a dog…

Copyright © 2010 Edward Bison

A Nice Bird

I know, it’s been a whole week, and you’re all just dying to know how things worked out with the new parakeet. Did it drop dead after a day? Did it continue to live? How could you bear the suspense? I don’t want to turn into one of those people who write endless crap about how their dog/cat/parrot/iguana (insert animal here) just did this really neat trick, which was just so cute, and I’m perfectly aware that the entertainment value of a parakeet diminishes considerably when you’re just reading about someone else’s, but I could hardly not post a follow-up to the purchase.

The first evening this little yellow thing just sat there on its perch, hardly daring to move. It didn’t seem to want to eat or drink, but fortunately the internet is full of similar stories from other people so we didn’t worry too much. By Sunday it had progressed to taking food from Bison Daughter’s hand and allowing itself to be stroked. On Monday Mrs Bison played it some parakeet sounds she found on the web, and it chirped its little heart out. Unfortunately this made us feel bad, since the recorded sounds didn’t answer back, and so on Monday I decided that it needed a little friend to keep it company.

So on Monday evening I stopped at the pet store on the way home and bought the little blue and white one which had been Bison Daughter’s second choice the previous Saturday. This necessitated more interaction with the fabulous green-eyed girl at the store. She invited me into the back room to see some newly arrived parakeets that were not able to be sold for another week. (I guess the store wants to be sure they’ll survive the journey from the breeder and not drop dead in a day.) I followed her into the small, cozy room, where she started to unbutton her blouse. (No, not really, but it would have made a great story, wouldn’t it?) She did show me the new parakeets though, but I decided to stick with the one Bison Daughter had liked. There was a wonderful green parrot in the stock room as well, which squawked loudly at us when we walked in, and I was a bit tempted to get that as well. Mrs Bison would have loved that…

Half an hour later I slipped the new bird into the cage as a surprise for Bison Daughter, earning myself some extra Dad Points in the process. The new bird just sat in a corner to start with, but later that night, when we turned out the lights, there was a barrage of squawking, lots of fluttering around the cage, and feathers flying everywhere. We turned on the light and rushed in, to find the birds sitting there like small children, busted for mucking around when they were supposed to be sleeping. They settled down after that and have become inseparable.

After just a week the birds will come out of the cage and sit nicely on your finger. One of them can fly, since its wings weren’t clipped as much, but they’re very tame. Apart from Bison Daughter’s room becoming a speckled festival of parakeet turds there really is no downside to these things as pets, at least as far as I can tell.

Well, there you go. I promise not to bore everyone shitless with touching stories of new parakeet tricks. And if I do end up getting to see the petshop girl’s boobs, I swear you’ll be the first to know.

Copyright © 2008 Edward Bison

Feathered Friend

I had a good run – ten years I’ve avoided buying Bison Daughter a pet. For ten years she’s made do with whatever multi-legged crawly thing or slimy beast she could capture in our garden and sentence to temporary incarceration in an unsuitable habitat of her own creation. As she got older she became less inclined to settle for frogs, woodlice and fireflies, but at the same time I was in no way persuaded to get a dog, and be myself sentenced to picking up its excrement from other people’s gardens …

Buy my book to read the rest of this feathery adventure

Dead Cat Club

While I’m fully aware that I’m living in a country where a significant segment of the population can be accurately defined as “having more money than sense” (and in many cases very little of either), every so often something happens to remind me just how vacuous so many of my fellow US denizens are. There was some story on the local news tonight about adult canine cell therapy, some highly expensive treatment for arthritis in old dogs which is aimed squarely at the “nothing’s too good for Fido” brigade. I can’t really describe the treatment because I didn’t watch the whole story – I had a rather more pressing appointment, consuming the curried flesh of a chicken with rice and a naan. Nevertheless it makes you wonder about the kind of people we live with when you hear crap like that.

This whole business of pets amazes me – people will come up with almost limitless ways of lavishing affection and care on a dog or a cat, out of all proportion to what it is. I grew up with pets and we liked them. The dog was an untrainable food-vacuum, given to consuming anything within reach, including birthday cake, lard, horse excrement and its own vomit, but it was still our dog (except when it shit on the carpet; then it suddenly became mum’s dog). The cat had few redeeming features, unless one includes sticking its pink anus in your face when it jumped on your lap, bringing up furballs while you were eating or dismembering a mouse in the living room. There’s no excuse for mistreating a pet but then again there’s no excuse for being the kind of sad motherfucker who refers to their animals as “four legged kids”. No-one who has had a child (at least no-one who’s suitable) could possibly look at a fucking cat and equate it with a kid.

I knew I could rely on my mate Peter for a well-adjusted view on cats. He won’t even consider dating a woman who has a cat, regarding it as the single most reliable indicator of inane stupidity in a female. Women who have cats sleeping in their beds are to be avoided, period. (I’ll let him add his own particular take on this subject if he wishes – I’m sure I won’t do it justice.) Anyway, today Peter sent me a link to the Pet Angel Memorial Center; below is a quote:

“We started the business because I don’t have two-legged children,” Pet Angel Memorial owner Colleen Ellis said. “All I have is four-legged children and I wanted her treated in the same way as the human funeral business.”

Note that this establishment offers a whole suite of services to the bereaved pet owner, including viewing areas and memorial services. Viewing areas? You’re shitting me, right? People are going to be invited to parade past a dead cat lying in state, dabbing sensitively at the corner of their eye with a linen handkerchief, all the time trying desperately hard to resist the temptation to start reciting the “Dead Parrot Sketch”?

“My girls lovingly called Presley the cat their “older sister”, after all, she was here long before they were. When she died, it was tough, we truly lost a member of our family that day. I was struggling with my emotions while supporting my kids through, what for them, was their first experience of losing a loved one. I was so glad someone was there to help me personally, and as a mother, get through a pretty rough time.”

Granted, you liked the cat. The kiddies were a bit upset that it met its maker – no surprise there. But spare me the “it’s the end of the world – I don’t know how I could cope” speech. What utter fucking bollocks. There is a world out there full of people being beaten, raped, stabbed, tortured, abused and killed. Every day that I wake up in my happy safe world I should be out of my mind with joy that it’s not me. If you can’t cope with your cat dying maybe you should get a little fucking perspective. Go out into the garden, dig a hole and bury it. Say your goodbyes and hope that a fox doesn’t dig it up and leave it half-eaten on your lawn. That’s the traditional way. Fuck’s sake – if it’s a fish you’re just supposed to flush it away – does the funeral home have a ceremony where they place Goldie in the bottom of the pan and then pull the chain? Do the mourners file past to make sure he hasn’t popped back up from round the u-bend?

Yeah, you can call me Captain Insensitive, but at least I won’t be picking little turds out of a sandbox tomorrow, or walking down the road with a plastic baggie full of dogshit in one hand. And for those of you still looking for Miss Right, I don’t care if she has tits like cherry-topped delights and is completely shaven, even if you haven’t had it in months, if she expects you to share the bed with Mr Whiskers I suggest you move on. It’s the right thing to do.

Copyright © 2008 Edward Bison

Here Kitty Kitty

Some people like cats and some people don’t. Personally I have nothing against them – it’s not like I’m allergic or anything, and I don’t run away when they come to see me (although their habit of jumping on your lap and turning around with their tail in the air to show you their pink sphincter is at best unsettling)…

More of this story in Mr Bison’s Journal

Talk To The Animals

By the time you read this it will probably be Monday morning. You may well be at work, pondering the futility of your existence. Or, in the case of anyone living in Dallas, the futility of your football team’s existence. Nevertheless I am here to tell you that it could be worse. Today’s offering in the category of “Jobs No-one Needs” is Pet Medium.

I don’t know what classes you take to prepare for a career as a pet medium. My guess is that drugs would be more helpful. Lots and lots of drugs. In fact the only thing sadder than being a pet medium is probably being the person paying $75 an hour to a pet medium to help them form a better relationship with their dead cat. It’s worth pointing out here that pet mediums (and amazingly there is more than one in the world) don’t just talk with your dead pets; they also communicate with your live ones, relaying messages to you about what they’re really thinking. This is what makes a career as a pet medium so much more fulfilling than that of a “dead people” medium. Not only do you not have to draw your contacts solely from the ranks of the deceased (who aren’t there anymore to tell their relatives that you’re talking bollocks) but you can expand your sales pitch to the realms of the living (albeit only pets, who also are in no position to tell their owner that you’re still talking bollocks).

The work of a pet medium is not limited to communicating with your pet, however; they also offer healing. The specific methods for healing your pet get a bit vague and appear to fall into the category of “things which you can offer without any training or certification whatsoever but which have fancy enough names that you can charge a bundle for them”. One example is aromatherapy. We all know the principle of this – you expose someone to nice smells and they get better. OK, I’ll suspend disbelief for a second, but here’s the thing: I know what dogs like to smell, and I wouldn’t pay anyone to serve these things up on purpose. They don’t seek out peppermint oil or sandalwood; no, they prefer essence of other dogs anus, fragrance of their own testicles, fire hydrant urine, roadkill and fresh excrement. Lovely!

You’d think that life would be tough as a pet medium – after all you’re essentially peddling bullshit to people who should know better. It’s worth remembering though that there is a sizeable subset of pet owners who are so freakishly fucking obsessed with their dogs and cats that they are willing to pay almost any money to some dumb bitch who will tell them that “yes, little Kitty loves you very much but just wishes you’d rub her tummy more in the evenings”.

Here’s a little test, just in case you’re considering hiring a pet medium and you would like to know whether they are genuine: just ask “Why does my dog keep licking his balls?” If you get any other answer than “Because he can, of course” then you can safely assume the medium is a lying sack of poodle droppings.

By the way, if you happen to be attempting to make contact with a black cat called Arthur, don’t believe any pet medium who tells you that he’s at peace on a higher astral plane where he’s perpetually chasing wool. He is in fact (at least partly) contained within the knobbly tread of the offside rear wheel of my neighbor’s truck, from which he is apparently proving to be tricky to dislodge with a pointy stick. See – life could be worse.

Copyright © 2008 Edward Bison

Halloween Chicken

Today our local Petco held its Halloween “pets in fancy dress” competition. I don’t spend any time in Petco on account of us not having any pets at home – this tends to reduce the need for pet shampoo, worm medicine and squeaky toys, although I have to say that some of the dog biscuits are pretty fucking good. Anyway, Bison daughter has a chicken which is a perfect pet in that it lives at a friend’s farm; we pay for food and lodging and the chicken now provides us with fresh eggs. I hadn’t seen the chicken in a while and it’s got surprisingly big; I just can’t help imagining it upside down in a roasting tray with an onion up its arse though. So the daughter and two other young friends dressed up three chickens and two German shepherd dogs in country and western outfits (don’t ask me why – the girl was raised on Motorhead and there’s never been so much as a single Shania Twain song played in this house) and entered them in this competition as a “chicken and dog” band.

I was at the gym this morning so I met them at Petco afterwards; I had expected to see a throng of pets and owners in assorted costumes but there were only a few people with dogs, and one with a large cat in a box. They weren’t in costume and it turned out they were there to queue for shots. (I presume for the animals, but you can never tell with these people). Last minute adjustments were made to the chicken costumes before the competition began. Not quite believing that I was witnessing my daughter dressing a large chicken with a small guitar round its neck in broad daylight in a public place I took refuge from this surreal scene in the lizard and snake department. There I found a baby python on sale for $50 in a Halloween Special that would very much have liked to come home with me. Its sign told me that it needed frozen rodents and would grow to four feet long. I made a mental note as a possible Christmas present for Mrs.Bison.

Eventually the tannoy weakly announced that the competition would start. A blonde girl in a Supergirl costume that exposed her elaborately pierced navel and back tattoo picked up a small megaphone and attempted to engender some enthusiasm in the assembled crowd of about ten people, four of which, it became apparent, were connected with the store. She called the acts up in turn to parade before the judges; apart from the chickens all the acts were small dogs in costume. When I say “all” I’m referreing to about three acts. One woman had three small dogs and appeared to be dressed as some sort of Halloween bag lady; we could not decide whether this was in fact a costume or if she had just abandoned her shopping cart full of aluminum cans outside. Mrs.Bison challenged me to a round of The Seasonal Apparel Game and won easily by claiming a woman with a Halloween shirt and sweater, and black cat earrings. It was never going to be close because I was much more interested in watching Supergirl and her pierced belly button. And quality Halloween breasts.

Elsewhere in the store a spotty teenager bagged goldfish for a customer and the queue for shots failed to progress. No-one was there to notice the small gathering in the corner, but after the judging Supergirl led the contestants in a silent and slightly sad parade around the store before returning for the grand announcement. The chickens had won, and $15 of vouchers were awarded to the victorious (and admittedly more charming and photogenic than a bag lady) chicken girls.

We moved away to the back of the store to remove various items of chicken costume. We had to step carefully to avoid an assault course of dog shit apparently left in frustration by some poor mutt who had spent an hour dressed in a stupid Halloween costume for nothing, and who would never be able to hold his head up in Petco again. It had been scattered in such a wide distribution of turds that it was not so much a matter of “clean up on aisle three” as “explosion at the Hershey factory”.

Outside it was t-shirt weather again; the Halloween spirit was no more in evidence there than at the competition. The winner of the Seasonal Apparel game had disappeared, along with the bag lady and, presumably, her cart. Frumpy suburbanites continued to spend money on pampered pets and a small crate of contented chickens returned to the farm. Don’t ever let it be said, though, that St.Louis is dull. Can you imagine the drugs you would have to take before you got a vision of a blonde, pierced Supergirl leading a parade of country and western chickens through a maze of tropical fish? That would have to be some fucking good shit.

Copyright 2007 Edward Bison

Love Me, Love My Pussy

I was in the gym this morning and one of the women in there was trying to set up my buddy Pete with a friend of hers. This friend came highly recommended – personality, looks, her own house, intelligent and successful – but Pete has been at the dating game in St.Louis long enough to have become sceptical, bordering on cynical, about women in this age group.

St.Louis is supposed to be a crap city for dating – I don’t have much experience because I imported my spouse when I came, but people I know have all said the same thing. Pete is smart, funny, employed, no baggage and in very good physical shape so he should be fishing in the “better” end of the St.Louis dating pond. He also looks about ten years younger than he is, which is handy because it gives him options in the “younger, smoother and less wrinkly” demographic. I don’t get to hear a lot about his dating, in spite of the fact that we spend four hours lifting weights together every weekend, because we’re blokes and therefore we don’t share that kind of crap. Sitcoms where male friends talk about their dating problems and update each other on relationships are complete shit, and are obviously written by women (who want to believe men act like that) or sensitive new-age types (who are busy pretending that they act like that, so they can shag new-age women).

So back to the dating pond. Pete has clearly spent a lot of time with his rod in the water, if you know what I mean, and can pretty much see trouble coming. All the women in his pond are divorced (except maybe for a few who poisoned their husbands) and it’s fair to say that many have “issues”. So he’s developed a few rules that he can apply at the outset to save wasting everyone’s time. When he was getting the third degree on why he should date this woman’s friend one of his first questions was “Does her life revolve around her pets?”

Most divorced women come with kids and he’s therefore already condemned to have to sit through school plays, high school sports and concerts above and beyond the already-daunting quota you have to endure with your own kids. It must be like a Groundhog Day of school events – every new relationship clicks over and, guess what, we have to go and watch little Johnny’s first football game. Again. Poor bastard, but it goes with the territory if he wants to ever get laid in the future. But he draws the line at cats and dogs.

Now let me say that I have nothing against pets – I’m very happy to meet other peoples’, although the whole litter tray thing means I will never own a cat. But Pete is allergic, which is one problem. The other is that there’s this whole group of women out there who will sleep with their pets, and whose whole life revolves around their perceived needs and wants. When you’re ordering your life to accommodate some woman’s cat’s timetable then you know you should have just stayed at home and had a wank.

Why do women find this whole pet thing so endearing? They sleep with the dog, even though the last thing it did before coming to bed was to sniff another dog’s arsehole and lick its own balls. It’s your bed, for fuck’s sake! Is it too much to ask that it be animal-free?

Apparently it is, because in St.Louis all divorced women seem to have cats. Pete therefore is faced with a dilemma: if he goes with a cat woman he’s guaranteed that the relationship will end when he finally can’t put up with her shit anymore, but if he holds off he’s going to end up with balls like coconuts, which can’t be good. My advice was to get some Claritin and get in there, but what the fuck do I know about the dating pond? I haven’t been fishing for so long I think I’ve forgotten where I put my rod.

Copyright 2007 Edward Bison

Pet Me from Laugh out loud book Mr Bison’s Journal

The kid next door is going to be getting a dog. I know this because she told me, about eighteen months ago, that it was all agreed with her parents. I am therefore, given continuing absence of any dog, very impressed with said parents’ ability to obfuscate, distract and ignore – at this rate she’ll be off to college before the dog ever arrives. So she makes do with walking a neighbor’s dog, a big black thing that looks like it could decide to eat her at any moment, and which shits the kind of turd that takes two hands to lift into a bag.

resad the rest of this story in the laugh out loud book, Mr Bison’s Journal