I have a new colleague who is from the Middle East. She moved here for work, having never been to the United States before. As you can imagine, she's experiencing significant culture shock. I find her insights to be clever, touching and occasionally baffling.
She told me the other day that she wasn't comfortable around pets. Meaning, specifically, pets in people's homes. Someone had invited her over, but they had a new dog, so she wasn't going to accept the invitation because she didn't want to be in a house with an animal.
I tried to get her to explain this to me. Had she had a bad experience? Been bitten? Something? No, it was more just that she wasn't raised that way. They didn't have animals in their homes and, to her, this was completely foreign and very odd.
Juxtapose that with this crazy new series I caught (as in, flipping through, made the mistake of stopping, and then continued to watch in complete horror) on Animal Planet about this growing issue of people hording animals. To quote one of my daughter's favorite expressions at the tender of age of three...."THAT'S RESGUSTING!!!!"
It was resgusting. I can handle a fairly significant level of filth (since I happen to have two animals living in my home .... in addition to the human animals) but when the health department needs to don hazmat suits just to come in to your house to stage your intervention you've lost me completely.
I think we can all agree THOSE people have a little problem. Hording is the result of psychological issues, and my heart goes out to them. But, in thinking about it, just because we are all used to it doesn't mean that having ANIMALS in our homes isn't, on some level, a little crazy when you stop to think about it objectively.
I have these two animals that I let walk around, get on my furniture (not on my bed, or even upstairs in my home, mind you, beause I do have my limits, though I know plenty of people go there), occasionally crap on my floor, eat my trash, and generally drag God only knows what from the outside to the in.
What are we thinking? It's really terribly random if you think about it, that cats and dogs became the creatures that are the universally accepted choices for inclusion in our homes from the animal kingdom. Why not ground hogs and falcons? Emus and springbok? Mice and meerkats???
I love my dogs. But I'm not going to blame her or think her odd for not wanting to come over. I think I kind of get it.