Opinion

The secret to animal longevity

After opening bills for eye exams, blood tests and the other routing family medical procedures, I looked at the dog and said, “Good boy, I’m glad you don’t go to the doctor,” and then threw him a Milk Bone.

I’m at a loss to explain the longevity of both the cat and the dog. Whatever the explanation, medical attention isn’t it. They’ve both been to the vet only a few times, mainly for shots when they were young. The cat hasn’t been back since. One night we found the dog lying on his side shaking and twitching and thought it might have to do with his age and breed. Just in case we took him to the vet who said, “It has to do with his age and breed, that’ll be a hundred bucks.” We haven’t been back and although the dog still twitches on rare occasions, we’ve turned a negative into a positive by using him to shake our martinis.

The best I can figure is the dog’s going to turn 14 in November and the cat is a year or so older. The cat lived the good life in the house for one year, curling up in front of the heater and getting petted whenever he wanted. But he’s barely been inside since we got the dog. He has a recliner covered with soft blankets in the garage where he makes use of the tools. Late at night we hear him hammering and sawing, working hard on his doggie coffin. He’s marking the days until the dog dies and he can regain control of the house.

Unfortunately for the cat, the dog shows no sign of dying. Sometimes he looks tired and sick, but he fixes that by eating grass. He’s very selective about which blades he consumes, and it takes patience to stand there while he grazes alongside the road with cars buzzing by, but within a day or two he’s feeling fine again. The county could make some extra money by bottling its roadside vegetation as dog miracle medicine.

Do the math and you’ll find the dog is almost 100 years old in human years, and the cat’s probably about the same. They still run around and get a kick out of life. The cat enjoys himself and the dog enjoys chasing the cat. What I can’t figure out is why they’re so healthy without taking any manufactured medicine or ever seeing a medical professional. Maybe my cranky grandfather was right, doctors only want your money. He avoided them until they locked him up in a nursing home, then he passed away. Most blamed old age, but I figured the doctors had something to do with it.

Maybe it’s what they eat. Both animals mainly eat Purina. It’s a good brand and I buy it for the dog because I like him. I buy it for the cat because my wife won’t let me get away with the cheap stuff, like Alley Cat, Western Family or my favorite, Ortho Cat-B-Gon.

Now I’m wondering if the secret to a longer, healthier life is found in Purina dog and cat food. I took a bite one day and it wasn’t as bad as you might think. It’s made with the same basic ingredients as Oscar Mayer “all meat!” Bologna, which they somehow persuade people to eat, except the animal food has less fat.

I’m thinking Purina should expand its line of dog and cat chow to include Purina People Chow. Life would be so much simpler if we could just pour our food out of a bag and eat it, and we’d be healthier, too. We might live to be 200 on a People Chow diet, or at least it would seem that way.

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