Strange but true … pets are people, too! |

Strange but true … pets are people, too!

Heidi Rice

“SEE? We’re not the only weirdos around …” I nudged and whispered to husband-head. “Other people think the same way we do!”

Husband-head was busy looking around with his mouth wide open as he surveyed our surroundings.

It was our first trip into “PETsSMART” – a nationwide retail store that sells every type of pet product imaginable.

Besides an overwhelming warehouse-sized building crammed with pet paraphernalia, the store also has a unique policy of allowing people to bring their beloved pets into the store.

We watched as a woman walked by with two small poodles hanging out of her cart, as if having her pets in the basket was as normal as pushing around produce …

A large Doberman Pinscher went strolling by with a little bow on his head. His owner walked him up to the rawhide bones to let his canine companion sniff the selection and determine the one he wanted.

“I can’t believe they let dogs come in!” I said to husband-head in amazement. “Weber would be so OBNOXIOUS if we brought him here …”

While our young 100-plus pound yellow Labrador is very lovable, he is not very well-behaved.

“I know,” husband-head nodded in agreement. “Not only would he want to chase all the other dogs, he’d pee on everything in sight.”

“So, tell me,” I asked the smiling saleslady. “Don’t the dogs sometimes … uh … do their business in here? I know mine would …”

“Oh, sure!” she smiled. “But we don’t mind. That’s why we have cleanup stations all over the store. We LOVE dogs! Bring yours in!”

We browsed through the store, alternately fascinated by the people, their precious pets and the products.

I stopped in an aisle containing a variety of bones in every shape and size. I picked up the largest bone I’d ever seen in my life.

“Now THIS would keep Weber busy for WEEKS!” I said, holding up the 3-foot basted bone, thinking I had just scored the ultimate pet pacifier.

“That’s DISGUSTING!” husband-head said, horrified. “It looks like a COW femur or something! Put that thing down right now.”

The store even boasted “The Pet Hospital” which provides “human quality medical care for pets.”

“I wonder what that means,” I said to husband-head. “What, do they give them really bad food, bed pans and charge `em through the nose?”

Not that we don’t treat our pet like a person. Weber sleeps up on the pillows with us in the bed, watches TV while sitting between us on the couch and has more doggies toys and treats than most children we know …

When we got home, I called Marianne to tell her about our adventure into pet heaven.

“We’re not the only ones!” I gushed, like someone who had just discovered that there was life on other planets. “Other people treat their pets like people, too!”

“Of course you aren’t, dear,” my best friend assured me. “You’re not strange … Weber is like your child … we all understand tha … sort of …”

And while Marianne keeps her own animals outside – separating fur from family – she graciously puts a picture of my dog on her refrigerator each year, which I give her in exchange for her kids’ school pictures …

That evening, husband-head and I sat on the couch watching TV with Weber in the middle and each of us petting the opposite ends of our pet.

“Honey, do you think other people censor what channels their dog watches?” I asked, as we flipped through the stations trying to find an age-appropriate program for our pup.”Or are we weird?”

Heidi Rice’s column appears every Friday in the Post Independent. Visit her Web site at

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