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"Pa, I have to prepare a speech for my class assignment", said Josh, "can we discuss some ideas today?"
"Sure," said Rosh, "What are you talking about?"
"Animals? Toys?" Rosh asked, as father and son started on their usual daily walk, "or special pets like me, whom your mother regards as her pet."
"Animal pets" Josh laughed, "the ones that the concise oxford dictionary defines as a tamed domestic animal kept for pleasure and companionship."
"Still sounds like me," Rosh laughed back.
"Yeah right!" Josh smiled, "Interestingly, the same dictionary also defines the word pest. It is a destructive, annoying and troublesome nuisance, generally an animal."
"So beware," Rosh winked back, "next time you're buying your PEST, I mean Pet."
"Why should you even be paying to get a pet?" he continued, suddenly inspired by his own jest, "I mean, you'd be paying to buy a nuisance!"
"Animal pets can be hard work," Josh agreed, "hard to control, moody, expensive to maintain, get diseases, break stuff and have health and hygiene issues."
"Talk about being expensive to maintain," Rosh continued, "Do you know how much it costs to take your pet to the vet?"
"According to one of my past colleagues, a proud pet owner and parent, it is more costly to get an animal treated from the vet than it is to get your child treated from the doctor."
"Animals also have some special dietary needs," Josh agreed, "You can't feed your goldfish chicken bones."
"The bone is probably bigger than the fish anyway!" Rosh joked, "And you can't get your dog to eat grass clippings".
They roared together with mirth.
"Plus they have other needs," said Josh, when he had stopped laughing, "Like you have to organize a baby-sitter to look after them when you are away."
"Animals also break stuff. I saw in the movie Mouse hunt, how much trouble a cat and a tiny little mouse can cause. They bring down the whole house!"
"Animals can pooh anywhere, anytime. If you take them for a walk, you have to take your shovel and plastic bag to scoop up their smelly poo. Eeew."
"Animal pets are also quite moody. Even their show of affection can produce awkward situations."
"Imagine you've just had a shower and you're about to go to a ball, when your pit-bull runs up to you and practically knocks you over."
"Then, he puts his muddy paws all over your nice suit or dress so it's wrecked. And to wrap it up he licks you like crazy and releases all this slobber over you. Yuck!"
"It can also be really embarrassing," Rosh agreed, "if you have a visitor and your dog comes along and just starts sniffing their groin."
"Yea," giggled Josh, "Pets also get sick and get diseases. They get fleas, they get fur over the couch and carpet and of course over your clothes."
"What's worse," Rosh chimed in again, "you can smell their bad odor coming from the carpet, and it's not so easy to get it out of the carpet."
"Toys don't get sick," he continued, "animals do. You can clean your toy by putting it in the washing machine or boiling it. Try boiling your budgie or giving your favorite poodle a good spin!"
"Yea," Josh agreed, "animals are not toys. They are living things like us and they can't be treated like toys. When you get sick of toys, you can throw them or give them away. If you did that to your animal pet, that would just be sad."
"You're better off with toys," Rosh came in for the home run, "Animal pets can be jerks. Besides, as you said earlier, they are hard work, hard to control, moody, expensive to maintain, get fleas and diseases, break stuff and have health and hygiene issues."
"If you still think you own animal pets, think again. Cos you see, you don't really own your animals. They own you."
'Is he guiding him?' one ever attentive crow peered down at them and thought, 'Or misguiding him?'
"But it's worth it, isn't it?" Josh sighed, "For all the love you get from them..."
"Forget love or companionship," Rosh disagreed, "The moment you have fed your pet cat, it's off with the fairies..."
"Caw!" the crow's mate cawed at him, "Wanna pet?"
"Naw!" he cawed back, "Gotta keep up with these two!"
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