This is a guest post by the infamous Dr Taggart, Self Help for Happy People’s key expert on all medical issues. She’s a real Dr, although not a real Taggart. She swapped sunny Scotland for the epic rains of Australia, but we won’t hold that, or anything else, against her.
Something recommended as beneficial to those suffering from depression is to acquire a pet, a cat or a dog or a goldfish (depending on the anal requirements of your landlord). Apparently, it’s very therapeutic to spend time with a living creature who can’t avoid your company or talk back, and, on becoming your pet, whose only purpose in life becomes to exist in such close proximity to your replicating DNA that you cease to feel as lonely as previously.
However, what does your chosen little bundle of joy get out of this arrangement? If a dog, he is automatically relegated to Bottom of the Pack; if a cat, he immediately is deprived of a territory rightfully his and his alone (“these pot-plants are MINE, puny human!”)
But there’s more. If you, like so many ‘celebrities’ out there, are so insecure in your physical appearance that you select a fittingly mutated ‘breed’ of animal to become your lucky, lucky pet, then there’s a whole new world of suffering out there that your little chosen one can look forwards to….
1. French Bulldog
You were born by Caesarian, because your anatomy is so grossly distorted that there is no way your huge bulbous head could fit through your poor mother’s birth canal. Depending on the diligence of the human who ‘bred’ you, this surgery was either planned for 64 days after your mother’s rape, or was an emergency visit after she had been struggling through a fruitless labour for hours.
2. Pug/ Bulldog
You can’t breathe because although your nasal bones have been selectively bred to produce an attractive ‘ran into a wall at 100kmph’ look, your internal soft tissues have not adapted accordingly. Therefore, you shall spend your entire life struggling to breathe past voluminous folds of palate, nasal turbinates and contorted nostrils.
3. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
That cutely-domed head of yours unfortunately does not fully accommodate your brain, which has likely as not prolapsed backwards into your spinal column producing the exotically named condition syringomyelia. Congratulations, you’ve got lifelong neck pain! But don’t worry, it will only afflict you for 12 years or so, before you die of congestive heart failure brought on by a congenital tendency to have malfunctioning heart valves.
Do your hip joints pop out of place every time you take a step? That’s just hip dysplasia! But don’t worry about it until you hit about 5-7 years old, by which time the accumulated joint damage, in addition to the extra 10-20kg of blubber (25-50% of your ideal body weight) that you are carrying thanks to the never-ending desire of you human to feed, feed, feed you. This will ensure that your happy days of bounding in the park are reducing to hobbling up around and slurping down medication every day. That is, until a further 7 years later, when your owner has decided that the pain you have been in all your life is too much and takes you off to the vet one last time.
Oh you lucky, lucky thing, this is the breed to be born as if you want to experience it all! For starters, you’ll probably have your tail chopped off when you’re days old – akin to a human baby having a finger scissored off, not that humans like to think about that. You can expect the same difficulty breathing as bulldogs, and the hip problems of Labradors, plus so much more! Skin allergies? Congestive heart failure? Massively increased incidence of malignant skin/ bone tumours? A propensity for your stomach to bloat and twist upon itself, taking with it your spleen and ensuring an agonising death? Better pray your pack of humans has a deep wallet and a good relationship with a vet.
You’re a Chihuahua. Congratulations. You’re a tiny, angry, mutated dwarf; probably acquired as a baby replacement by a particularly narcissistic human who’d be better off with a Tamigotchi. Fear not, there’s a range of health disorders to occupy your days of being carried around in a sparkly pink handbag…
If you’ve been born normally (see French Bulldog) and without a painfully fluid-filled brain (hydrocephalus), fret not, there’s more to look forwards to. A high incidence of epilepsy and a predisposition to low blood sugar (requiring you to nibble all day, like a hummingbird) is another of the neurological selection that may afflict you.
Your windpipe may be too fragile to withstand the rigours of breathing, requiring you to cough and re-open your airway every time you breathe just a little harder. You shouldn’t cough too hard though, as your deformed skull has produced very shallow eye sockets from which your eyeballs are likely to prolapse.
Your kneecaps probably are a bit wild, preferring to roam all over the joint rather than stick to the normal up-down action that there’s meant to. This might make you carry a back leg every so often, and will probably cause you arthritis later on, but it’s quite endearing to the human who needs you to need them.
Your health is absolutely 100% fine, but owing to your ugly looks you’ll probably not be admitted to a human pack and will have to spend you life roaming the streets. This is, actually, a whole lot more fun. But don’t tell the Chihuahuas.