Once again, Penny Thornton has written a funny, oh-so-true article about our 21st century relationships with our furry friends.
One of my college professors gave an amazingly frustrating assignment to his classes each semester: a month of recording every single use of media followed by a 24-hour period of media-free time. Media included but was not limited to: phones, computer use, the internet, radio, music, television, movies, newspaper, books, magazines, billboards, clocks and watches.
Think about how many times a day you use any of those mediums and you will realize how much our society has integrated them. Now think about how our media use affects our pets. Our furry friends watch tv with us, listen to our music and possibly even fetch our papers in the morning (I wish mine would, but alas, her mouth is too small). With this in mind, I’ve compiled some thoughts on media and how it relates to our pets.
Music has long been relied upon to relieve the stress of humans, change our moods, entertain us, etc. But who thinks of music for pets? After some research, I’ve discovered that most “pet music” products appear to be classical music samplers. It’s anyone’s guess as to whether they actually work. My rabbit has never been particularly fond of Beethoven and if I start playing Bach, the dog actually leaves the room.
As a human, I can attest that, yes, Mozart has accompanied several of my more successful study sessions, Enya makes me sleepy and Pink Floyd can induce some weird dreams. But what do our pets think of music? In forums, pet owners list the widely-varied favorite artists/bands of their pets, ranging across all genres. All I can tell you for sure is that the only way to keep Zombie from wanting to sit on my shoulder in the car is by putting on country music.
Just like TV and movies affect humans, they can affect our pets. Examples:
- There’s an old trick many people use to keep particularly destructive dogs from tearing up the house; leave the tv on (not guaranteed to work, I am not liable for any damages to your house, belongings, pets or other persons present).
- My parents’ dog will sit attentively for the duration of baseball season; she and my father never miss a Cubs game.
- A roommate of mine had a dog who would growl and lunge at the TV every time we played “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. It is still unknown whether the dog is really a vampire/demon/other slay-able creature.
You know you’ve held up the phone to your dog’s/cat’s/whatever’s ear so they can hear the person on the other end babbling inanely at them while they regal you with a confused glare befitting a POW.
Ever seen a cat play with a screensaver? Ever seen a bird on webcam? Viral videos of corgis playing with iPads and cats sprawling across keyboards are everywhere!
The Internet/Social Networking
Just as social networking has been one of the main focuses in internet use for humans, it has grown into an empire for pets and pet parents. The internet is choc-full of forums, chat rooms, whole websites dedicated to particular breeding and show organizations, adoption agencies, humane societies, veterinarians and pet supply stores.
Online, you can find the dog of your dreams on www.Petfinder.com, order it everything it needs from pet supply sites, compare reviews to make sure you take it to the best veterinarian in town, and, after it dies, you can send its ashes away to a company that will place them in a “pillow urn” embroidered with their name. While you can use the internet and social networking to do useful things such as these, my observation is that several pet parents take the path less practical.
Your pet can have a Facebook page which is plugged into its Twitter feed and Youtube channel. It can also “friend” other pets on these sites, update “statuses” and “like” its favorite places, products, foods, toys and so forth. You can tag your pets in photos and “suggest” their page to everyone you have “friended” on the site. Can you get more obsessive?
Oh yes. You can. Rabbit parents have Bunspace, which is a place for both rabbits and their loving parents to make friends, share stories, advice and jokes, and completely disappear inside the world of bunny-ness. Dog parents, you are not left out! You have Dogster. Cat parents? Welcome to Catster! (There are others, but I stuck to listing the most popular.)
Then of course, there are sites like arkansaspetgazette.com that keep us informed on local events/places/people/pets without the hassle of having to create a profile. Might I be kissing up to the editor so she will keep asking me to write pieces for the site?
Yes. Yes, I might.
Does your pet watch TV with you? Have his own social networking page? Does she sing along with your music? Please share by leaving a comment below!
Click here for The Case For House Bunnies, also by Penny.