by CLINT YOUNTS
Have you ever had a pet peeve, one that just eats at your gut like a chocolate-dipped jalapeno every time you see it occurring smack-dab in front of you? I’m sure everybody has one. Some of us may have more than one. Personally, I have enough pet peeves that if I were to start griping about them all in one column, this newspaper would be thick as a Houston phone book, so I try to string ‘em out over time. My current pet peeve is just that, a peeve about pets.
Whoa, now! Don’t get all riled up and start cussin’ me for disliking pets. That’s not what I’m fixin’ to fuss about. I love animals and have even owned a mess of critters over my time. I don’t have a problem about folks having pets, no matter how ugly or ill-mannered they might be. The thing that chaps my hide like a gritty Speedo in a game of beach volleyball is seeing folks tote their pets into certain establishments, specifically home improvement stores.
I reckon part of my displeasure of seeing people bringing their dogs into Home Depot is due to my occupation in a vet clinic. After putting in 40 hours a week working around cats and dogs, I like to go home and relax, and what’s more relaxing than strolling down the aisles at Lowes looking at hardware and taking in the sweet aroma of freshly cut white pine? The last thing I want to see on my day off is some ugly mutt in a knitted sweater leading its owner around the garden section at my weekend retreat. I don’t spend Saturdays going to Home Depot to see dogs. That’s kinda like a proctologist going spelunking on his day off.
I’m a tolerant fella most of the time, but last weekend I witnessed not one but two acts of insanity that set me off like a fire in a bottle rocket factory. While in Lowe’s, admiring the new 2014 John Deere lawn tractors with dual cup holders, in walks a young woman with a Babe in her arms. Oh, no, I didn’t mistakenly capitalize the word “babe”. This gal was carrying a miniature pig against her bosom, all wrapped up in a baby blanket. And if that wasn’t bad enough, this little piggy was wearing a sweater. Give me a break! The only appropriate wrapping for swine should have “Oscar Meyer” printed on it.
I was so disgusted at seeing Lowe’s turned into a petting zoo that I jumped in my truck and sped off to Home Depot. I was hoping that a few minutes looking at exterior lighting would calm my nerves, but upon entering the store, I see an older fella with a rather large, shaggy dog. Now, I know there are some wonderful service dogs out there. Some highly-trained dogs assist folks with physical disabilities, so I was hoping this was the case. But later, as I was looking at PVC pipe, that fella came around the corner with a shopping cart filled with one large, shaggy dog and nothing else. Dude, people put pipe fittings in those buggies! I don’t want stinkin’ dog hair in my new plumbing. I drink from those pipes!
What makes people think hardware stores are appropriate places to take their dogs and pigs for a morning walk? What would happen if I’m carrying several planks of decking on my shoulder and slip in some poodle pee? I don’t want to be carrying a bag of Dillo Dirt out to my truck and step in collie crap. Hey, I don’t take my prize heifer into Kohl’s. What makes you think you can walk Fifi through the aisles of my favorite stores? And now we have pet pigs entering our harbor of hardware. What’s next? Pet pythons? Where is a man supposed to go to get away from his Honey-do list and get a few minutes of androgenic asylum?
I’m sorry for all this ranting about pets invading my favorite stores, my weekend sanctuaries, but, hey, in this dog-eat-dog world, I need a safe haven to relax and dream of a peaceful meadow, filled with tall grass and dandelions and me sitting behind the wheel of a beautiful John Deere lawn tractor with cold beer in each of the two cup holders. Please, leave your dogs at home or I’ll have to resort to taking my business elsewhere, like Tractor Supply, where the only animals you’ll see inside may one day lay eggs to be scrambled and served on a platter alongside some little, sweater-wearing pig.
Clint Younts does work at a vet clinic, so he understands animals. His own cattle love him so much that they chase his truck, wanting to go with him to his favorite eating establishment. They just haven’t figured out that the restaurants serves … wait for it … beef.