Archives for category: animals

…I would be there everyday. (Not to eat them, of course. Duh.)

Thanks to lifehacker for introducing me to this deathly cute video.

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On Thursday, I lived a day as a dog owner.

Well, less than a day. And it wasn’t a complete experience — I didn’t have to wash him, feed him, or brush him — but still, I had a feel for what taking care of a dog was like.

My friend recently adopted a small dog, and she invited me out with her to walk her dog, Teddy. At first, I was a bit nervous about this, as I was slightly scared of dogs in general due to all those stories of them attacking people. Also, I’ve never had any friends who owned dogs until now, so I was unsure of how I should interact with dogs.

Thankfully, Teddy was very friendly. He excitedly licked me as soon as he saw me (I really had to make an effort to keep my face away from him), and was totally content in letting me walk him… Well, totally content in being able to walk me. I let Teddy set the pace for the walk, so I was walking behind him as he happily skipped ahead. I actually had to feel sorry towards my friend, who was walking behind us (she had to carry his water and food, so it wasn’t quite her fault for falling behind). But, thankfully, Teddy was conscious enough to turn around and check if my friend was still there, slowing down when necessary to wait for her to catch up. It was heartwarming to see that such a bond had already formed between them in the course of two weeks.

I came to the conclusion that dogwalking would be a satisfying and enjoyable workout (at least with Teddy, as he’s a ball of energy), if not for a few things:

  1. Teddy stops every ten minutes to make his mark (i.e. pee) somewhere. While I understand that this is a natural thing for him to do, it’s not particularly suitable for a good aerobic workout: I want to keep walking! Thankfully, the entire process doesn’t take too long.
  2. Teddy hates squirrels. At the mere sight of one, he barks and will probably try to climb up a tree to chase it. You have to coax and drag him away, or else you might as well be standing there for the next hour. I’m sure not all dogs are anti-squirrel though, so this wouldn’t be a factor with other dogs.
  3. Meeting other dog owners is a tricky business. It’s okay if the dogs are just interested in sniffing each other before going their separate ways, but sadly, a meeting can become quite aggresive. By the end of the walk, I found that I became apprehensive whenever we were approaching another dog, because who knows what kind of reactions we’ll have to deal with?

But those things aside, I wouldn’t mind walking Teddy again at all.

During my two hours as a “dog owner”, I also received a crash course in dog ownership when my friend got into a conversation with another dog owner we met at a park. Granted, it wasn’t terribly exciting dialogue, but the encounter was certainly entertaining, as their dogs were weaving around our legs, alternatively sniffing and avoiding each other.

As much as I wanted to keep playing with Teddy, I was glad that I actually wasn’t his owner. I found out — from walking him, watching my friend care for him, and the “crash course” — that dogs require a lot of attention and work to care for, especially since you’ll inevitably develop a tendency to spoil them.

But hey, I totally wouldn’t mind being a part-time dog walker. I think that would be awesomely fun.

I love IKEA.

IKEA is fun. It is large, it is creative, it is made for mad designers like me. I love flopping down on their fully decked sofas, opening every glazed cupboard, and walking around the store with one of their huggable plush tigers in my arms. And the great thing is, I only get weird glances when I do the last item — anywhere else, my butt would barely make contact with a sofa before a sales rep would attack me from behind.

Yes, IKEA = <3.

But today, today, I was heartbroken. I was heartbroken when I was walking through the textiles section and saw the LUDDE Sheepskin. Sheepskin? IKEA? Nah, I thought, IKEA can’t possibly sell real sheepskin. They wouldn’t. It’s inhumane.

Nevertheless, I could not help but approach the basket of white, furry rugs. I picked up a rug, running my hand through the woolly fibres and on the back surface of the rug. It felt…so real. But knowing that stores these days usually don’t sell animal hides as home decor, I turned the rug around to read the tag that would surely ease my mind. Of course it would say POLYESTER FIBRES or something like that.

It didn’t. Instead, it simply read, SHEEPSKIN.

One word.

They might’ve just as well written, MURDER.

Okay, perhaps I’m overreacting. Perhaps they just used the hide of sheep that died of natural causes, or of those that were slaughtered for meat. In that case, wouldn’t they be conserving resources?

I suppose you could think of it that way. But, the point is, it’s unethical to use the lovely skin of an animal to carelessly wipe your feet on. How can one even stand having one of those at home? How can you rest your feet on that rug, knowing that it was once part of a living, breathing animal whose existence was important to at least one other creature on this planet?

I dropped the sheepskin back into the pile. How could IKEA do this to me? After all these years of blind devotion, this is what I get in return? Animal hide rugs? I could ignore ill-fitting parts. I could ignore the need to redrill holes a bit deeper in their desk surfaces in order to attach the legs more securely. I could even ignore the cardboard-tasting hot dogs they try to pawn off on us at the checkout for 50 cents. (I mean, do they think their customers are that cheap? I’d rather pay a bit more for a hot dog that tastes something that resembles food.) But this is too low. Too low.

I didn’t even bother checking the tag behind the KOLDBY cowhide rugs I saw later. There was no need. Just one touch was enough to tell me, “Genuine cowhide.”

IKEA, we’ll be seeing a bit less of each other from now on, at least until you explain yourself. (I doubt you’ll ever will.) I’ll finish my search for a new shelving unit elsewhere. You won’t be getting my $149 this time.

We all know too well the feelings of frustration, annoyance, and madness that ensue when we are unable to escape walking behind someone who is moving at a snail’s pace — it may be an elderly person, someone yapping on their phone, or even worse, a whole group of chatty teenagers who refuse to use their boundless energy to walk just a tiny bit faster.

So, when I saw a man walking his dog leisurely today, I wondered: Do dogs ever get annoyed at their owners for walking too slowly? Obviously, dogs are capable of moving much faster than we can, so wouldn’t our (“fast”) walking speed be considered a slow crawl to them? It might be the reason why some dogs are always straining at their leashes, appearing as though they would prefer to be anywhere else but inching along beside their owners.

I am not saying that we should let dogs run leash-free so that they can (1) travel at a pace they are comfortable with, and (2) actually be able to exercise during their daily outings; in fact, I’m utterly scared of leash-free parks, because some dogs can be pretty violent (and pretty sudden in their revelation of their aggression, too). Instead, perhaps owners could take their dogs out for a “walk” while riding a bike, rollerblading, or jogging. I realize this isn’t possible for everyone, but if it is, then both the owner and the dog will get a much better workout.

(It’s quite odd; I didn’t mean for this post to be about changing people’s dog-walking habits. I meant merely to ponder the thoughts of the slowly-walked dog. But anyways, if that suggestion ends up being beneficial to dog owners, then I’m happy that I actually did something useful today.)

Updates: Okay. SO. I ended up sticking this blog on WordPress.com after all. 000webhost was actually pretty good for a while — all plugins worked, themes could be customized, the servers were fast. It was all great, until I discovered that they frequently restarted their MySQL servers, which resulted in my blog displaying a large, ugly, Times-New-Roman “Error connecting to database” sign several times a day, sometimes for over half an hour at a time. While I understand that their hosting service is free, having a blog that goes offline unpredictably is intolerable. So, I moved to AwardSpace, thinking I could install a CAPTCHA system to replace the unusable Akismet plugin… However, I discovered that AwardSpace refused (for some very, very odd reason) to display the plugins page! Jeez. At that moment, I gave up and imported everything over. Everything, except my custom theme, of course. But since my modified header looks pretty good, I’m not going to complain.

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