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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 11, Issue 3 (June 1, 1936)

What Is Home Without A Pet?

What Is Home Without A Pet?

A bird to sing,
A pet to pat,
A cat to slumber
On the mat;
Without a pet
The home is flat—
The human mind
Is made like that.

Man, the great big bassoon in creation's orchestra, yearns for a pet to pat, for a fragment of furred fauna or feathered fowl to fondle; something dumb and faithful and uncritical to reinstate him in his own good books when things come ungummed. He must have something to lean on; not that one can conveniently lean on a goldfish or a canary unless one is a remarkably skilful leaner. But, leaving leaning to the Tower of Pisa and the dieticians, the chief attraction of dumb animals is their dumbness. You can tip off an earful of trouble to a goldfish without his interrupting to tell you about the air-choke in his gills or the water on his bilge. He just conveys his silent sympathy by goggling glassily with one eye at a time, and blows a few bubbles to show what he thinks of life.

When existence seems to sag, and life languishes into a kind of moaning without meaning, you can sneer at the canary, step on the cat's self-starter, tell the parrot where he gets off, or look black at the white mice; and their admiring eyes will only seem to say, “What a man!”