“You see, Human New Dog-Slaves — because that is what you are. You are not the dog’s ‘Master,’ just as you aren’t mine. With me, our relationship is clear. With the new Labrador mongrel that has invaded my house, you are clearly fooled into thinking somehow this pup doesn’t own you — but you see, or soon will, that while this new mongrel gives you the love you want, I give you the love you need. I, “Wally the Kind,” “Wally the Just,” “Wally the Clean” — I give you the right amount of love, which doesn’t turn you into squealing, undisciplined sots. Our relationship is one of order and maturity. Much like a couple in the Eisenhower years (or so I hear): cocktails after work, dinner at 6, Murrow comes on the television at 7, and a bit later separate twin beds and matching his and hers flannel pajamas. Perhaps some conversation and intimacy mixed in. Perhaps. Depending on how I feel.
“But this mongrel. This mongrel! It has really upset the catnip cart. I see you fawn over it and hug it and I hear your little high-pitched squeal — when will that end, by the way, when it turns 5?! or 10, and has hip dysplasia?! — and you shower affection on it, which it robotically reciprocates in spades, and then when you put it down it pees on the living room floor while smiling its insipid smile at you. Wherever there’s a clean spot. Creatures of my genus keep our excretions limited to a space approximately 12 inches by 18 inches. Every time! Let’s see that mongrel of your have metrics like that. I mean, I’m like the 1927 New York Yankees, and the mongrel is like the ’62 Mets, which went 40-120. There’s no comparison. I’m Steinbrenner’s pride; it is the shame of Flushing.
“Frankly, I’m disappointed.
“I thought we had a good thing going, and together we’d watch Australian and BBC televisions shows. Remember those good days? But now, you have that brown furry thing getting between you and the screen and jumping up into your face to lick you and bite your ears. Can’t you see it is totally playing you?! This thing about ‘puppy breath’ is highly overrated. A PR stunt.
“I can’t promise I’ll be here when you come back around, but if you keep my litter box clean and that food coming precisely at 10pm, well, then, I’d say we have at least a 50/50 chance of making it.
“And I’ll avoid stating the obvious here: between the cat and the mongrel, actuaries put their money on the cat.