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I love animals - though not always their owners. The pets are doing what they naturally do. Or doing what their unnatural lifestyle has led them to do. Their owners often seem unable to control them so that they can fit into the world of humans.
Why is it that a cat seems to know just who among the guests is afraid of cats - and then proceeds to attempt to sleep on your lap? Or crawl onto the back of the settee you're sitting on to catch your hair in its claws? Or brush lovingly against your leg?
Or that a mouse - which is normally so timid as to be invisible to the general population - will suddenly appear in the room when you are quite alone and proceed to watch you with unblinking eyes?
Of course even if you carefully select your friends so that you have none who keep animals (i.e. animals that you don't like) you're not out of the woods yet.
Dogs are everywhere. Wherever you go. If you go jogging, walk on the pavement, go to the beach or park, or even travel on public transport you're likely to attract their attention - especially if you're phobic of dogs.
And should you shrink back or, worse, kick out to try and protect your limbs from being chewed by the drooling jaw, the outraged owner will shout a warning to not frighten or injure poor Fido....
"Oh, he's only playing - he wouldn't hurt a soul!!" As if they expect you to wait to see if a chunk disappears from your calf before you decide whether or not to protect yourself.
The final irony? After Fido has managed to avoid your flailing arms and legs and nipped you? "Well, if you hadn't irritated him he wouldn't have touched you - you scared him and he was only acting naturally!"
Of course all of this is quite unfair to the majority of pets. Like children and their parents, the dogs are conditioned by their 'owners' and their behaviour reflects their treatment and their training.
If, like me, you like animals you will recognise that the above comments are a reflection on an influential minority of thoughtless owners rather than on the animals themselves.
Do I have pets? No. I like dogs but live in town and believe that it is selfish to imprison dogs for much of the day in a house, flat (apartment), of even a small garden. It’s my personal view that we should only keep them if we have lots of spare time to take them for very long walks - or have acres of grounds in which they can roam freely.