Darling Companion: Real fake pet ownership
My friend John recently got himself a puppy, so I'm suffering from dog-envy.
Teddy, John's pup, is a cute little guy, mostly lab, and John is both immensely enjoying Teddy and tearing his hair out. Teddy is John's first dog, and he's used to cats who - furniture clawing aside - are just a lot easier to "raise."
In any case, dog person or cat person, having a pet is wonderful. Dogs are happy to see you. They snuggle. They lick. You can stick your cold toes underneath their stretched out, loafing bodies to warm yourself up. They do funny things. They can be awfully cute. They get you out of the house. They never seem bored when you talk to them. They'll eat leftovers.
I'm no cat-tie, but I know that - aloof as they can be - cats, too can be tremendous companions.
So what are we to make of the Zzz Animals, battery operated puppies and kittens, that a company called First Street is offering?
They are advertised as pets you can love unconditionally, without any of that nasty overhead: pet food, trips to the vet, walking and poop scooping. No peeing on the couch. No gnawing the chair leg. No hairballs to step in. No ticks to pull.
The Zzz Animals, named because they are perpetually napping,are "hand-crafted" using "super soft" synthetic fur (no shedding!), and
... are so amazingly lifelike you may forget they are not real as they lie sleeping on your hearth, or next to your chair. Their little midsections rise and fall as they "breathe".
You can pick and choose your darling companion from among a Golden Retriever, Chocolate Lab, Pug, Shih-Tzu, or orange tabby.
Each comes with an adoption certificate, collar, bed, and pet carrier. If you need any more convincing, batteries are included, and the come-with batteries should keep your pet "breathing continuously for up to three months."
The thought of anyone buying one of these "creatures" as anything other than a joke is completely depressing to me. Completely.
Come on, having one of these is no closer to the real pet experience than hanging around Second Life watching your avatar get laid is to the real thing.
Yet another example of our marvelous, infinite economy - and another example of its marvelous, infinite capacity to produce goods that are ersatz, useless, and profoundly ridiculous. (And just what is going through the minds of the Chinese factory laborers making them. Probably something along the lines of 'Americans are soft and idiotic, and spend too much money on this pathetic crap. The end of the over-extended American Century is near.')
To read about a real, live puppy, here's a link to John's By the Bayou posts on Teddy.