Dec 30, 2010

Meat? Yes! Fur? No!

I was shopping at my local butcher shop on a very chilly day when my 'meat man' asked me if the fur ear flap hat I was wearing was real fur. When I told him no, it's a very realistic-looking fake, he winked at me and said, "That's good, because no animals are ever harmed in this place." And while it was all very amusing, and we both had a chuckle, it got me to thinking about what exactly my belief system is and where I draw the line.

I'm horrified at any animal cruelty of any kind and yet I eat meat. Most meat, at any rate. I refuse to eat veal as the way veal calves are treated appalls me. And I don't eat lamb as the thought of eating a darling spring lamb is equally upsetting to me. Yet I have no trouble eating beef, chicken or pork and it isn't as though I don't find the creatures from which those meats originate unpleasing, nor that I'm not bothered by the slaughter of those animals because I am. And still I eat some portion of them just about every single day.

I'm repulsed by real fur. The torture those animals endure and the ridiculous amount of lives and pelts it takes to create a single coat or hat makes my blood run cold, yet I wear leather shoes and boots, pigskin gloves and I even own a leather coat. Is tanning a hide any less evil than skinning a mink or chinchilla?

As I stood there at the meat counter expressing my horror at wearing a real fur hat, collecting my steaks and pork chops, feet tucked snugly into my toasty sheepskin boots, I realized with a certain amount of disgust that I am a complete hypocrite when it comes to my commitment to animal rights. And as sad as it makes me, I'm not sure I'm prepared to change my present habits. That's bad, isn't it?

Dec 24, 2010

Wrapping the Gifts

Gift wrapping shenanigans and hijinks. While one of us was attempting to actually wrap some gifts, two small dogs (and a lazy cat) were doing their best to make the task as difficult as possible. Diving under paper, running across paper, tearing up paper, climbing into the bags with the unwrapped gifts, stealing gift cards and pens, and of course in the case of the boys, teasing the poor cat until she practically had a seizure. Ah, it must be Christmas again.

Merry Christmas One and All!

Dec 17, 2010

Four Old Disney Movies

I was recently at a dinner party and though I can't remember exactly how it happened, the after-dinner talk somehow turned to old Disney movies. And I was surprised by how many adults, most of whom are my age or just slightly older than me, had neither seen nor, even more surprisingly, ever heard of some of my childhood favorites. In the last couple of weeks since that evening, I've been thinking about movies that I hadn't thought of in decades and since then, courtesy of netflix (what a wonderful invention that is), been systematically devouring them in the evenings after everyone else goes to bed. Here, in no particular order, are my four favorite animal-themed movies from my early childhood. And of course they'd be animal-themed! Did you expect something else?

The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit (1968). Dean Jones plays an ad executive who's about to lose his job when a drug company owner hates the ad campaign designed for him. With a daughter who wants a horse of her own and no money with which to buy one, Jones gets the idea to buy the horse, name it after the stomach pill in question and take it through the show circuit as a living ad campaign. If the horse doesn't win big, Jones loses his job and the horse and makes his daughter miserable. I loved this as a little girl because the horse was a dapple gray, always my favorite, and I found myself last week as giddy as I was at six years old, madly in love with horses once again and thrilled to be watching two hours of the most gorgeous dapple gray ever to grace the screen.

The Ugly Dachshund (1966). Suzanne Pleshette's prize-winning weiner is about to have puppies and when she does, the vet talks her husband, again (the luscious) Dean Jones into bringing home an abandoned Great Dane to be nursed in the litter as well. Hijinks ensue when the poor Dane, who believes himself to also be a little weiner dog, gets blamed for all the chaos the naughty weiners create. When the Dane is entered in a dog show, can he realize what a big beautiful specimen he is before it's too late?

That Darn Cat (1965). When a bank teller is kidnapped during a robbery, she slips her wristwatch around the neck of DC, Hayley Mill's meandering Siamese cat, hoping to lead the police to her kidnappers' hideout. When Mills sees the watch, she gets the FBI involved, including one agent (Dean Jones again, am I sensing a pattern here?) who also happens to be highly allergic to cats and the hunt is on.

The Three Lives of Thomasina (1964). The story of a little girl named Mary whose mother has passed and whose life with her depressed veterinarian father is anything but fun. Only her cat Thomasina brings her joy but when the cat contracts tetanus and her father puts the cat down, Mary becomes enraged. She runs away and brings the cat to a witch, hoping she can heal Thomasina and bring her back to life, possibly reuniting father and daughter in the process. Not exactly the rollicking fare of the previous three films, but still a very sweet little movie that I fondly remember from my childhood (even if it doesn't have Dean Jones in it).

Dec 13, 2010

Bullies With Antlers

I really do love to dress up my boys for the holidays. Strike that. I really do like to dress up my boys, period. I don't need any excuses to make them look adorable, but having a theme helps. I haven't had the time to think up or assemble any funky Christmas outfits for Edison and Bram, and while I'm sure they're pleased as hell I haven't, I'm going to miss them looking dapper and festive this year.

Last year I bought them two adorable little santa hats with fur trim. The hats played little twinkling versions of well-known holiday classics and I thought the boys would be irresistible in them with their giant ears poking out of the hats and merry tunes emanating from their tiny heads. What I didn't take into account was having two chihuahuas who were so freaked out by the music that was suddenly swirling all too closely to their heads, that every time I put one of the hats on them, they'd drop down, bellies to the floor, legs splayed out, with a look of sheer terror on their otherwise angelic faces. My guilt got the better of me after only one or two tries and with a heavy heart I returned the hats to the shop where I had gotten them.

This year I saw a gift set that included a tiny green fur hat adorned with holly that came with a set of four tiny curly-toed elf boots that had little jingle bells on theirs tips. It was meant to be for cats, but would have fit my boys perfectly. But being the loving mother I am, I decided to not put poor Edison and Bram through the horrors of holiday clothes again, for this year at any rate. I have told Maia Louise, when she's been naughty and abusive to the boys, that I know where I can very easily get an outfit that will not only be physically uncomfortable for her but will humiliate her in her uber-snobby cat world as well. So far, my threats have kept her nicely in line. And of course, there's always next year to go holiday-outfit-hog-wild on all my furry children.

These three adorable bullies sporting festive holiday antlers belong to a friend of mine. From top to bottom these cuties are: Sophie, the adorable little Frenchie, Chelsea and Charles. It's good to see some dogs have gotten into the holiday spirit, even if Sophie looks like she'd rather be asleep than posing for her close up.

Many thanks to Mary Lou for allowing me to use these photos of her gorgeous doggies.

Dec 8, 2010

How to Torture a Snowman, Chi Style

These are two of a friend's (nine) dogs enjoying a fun afternoon in the first snow of the season. That's tiny Pru, the tomboy, scaling a rather unfortunate snowman, first attempting to steal his hat and then deciding that the hat alone wasn't enough, thus going for his carrot nose and ultimately knocking his head off instead. Unfortunately, Beryl (the little black pug) wasn't quite quick enough when it came to joining in on the happy destruction.

Many thanks to Jo for the use of these hilarious photos of her girls torturing a snowman!
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