I’m a cat person. I used to have a dog, back in the ‘70s, but he got run over and that was it. I never could make the commitment again. Frankly, going against today’s grain, I don’t like dogs as a rule. I don’t think they “are people too,” they annoy me at the Downtown Farmers Market, very few of them are trained to behave. I’m tired of passing plastic bags of dog poop on every trail and most dogs have no idea about personal space.
I prefer a cat’s naturally polite limitations.
But, at the photo shoot for this issue—surrounded by a room full of therapy dogs from a Bernese Mountain Dog the size of a pony, looking more like livestock than a pet, to a tiny something that looked like, if you stuck on an antler, he could pull the Grinch’s sleigh—I have to admit that the idea of therapy cats seems far-fetched (Stop, I know there are some.) Mostly, a cat’s attitude is, you need help? Go get some. But dogs seem to be truly happy to see people, although I’m not sure their happy-looking faces aren’t due to something else, much like flatulence inspires a baby’s first smile. But it doesn’t matter.
At the airport recently, there were two therapy dogs by the gate. Everyone wanted to pet them, everyone smiled to see them. Anyone’s anxiety (unless it sprang from cynophobia) would be soothed by a few minutes communing with these calm and cheerful animals.
And, you gotta face it. These are times when the world’s anxiety needs soothing in general—global warming, weather disasters, lying leaders, feuding families and lascivious men—it’s all distressing. For some reasons, the meant-to-be happy holidays ratchet up the stress instead. Comfort food helps (see our article about chefs’ holiday meals), so does cuddling up with something furry, whether faux (see Fashion) or a soft coat with a beating heart and a wagging tail. I just forego the wagging tail part and curl up with Joe. Stop. He’s my cat
Mary Brown Malouf,
Editor Salt Lake magazine
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