Four Legs Good
Why do men supposedly like dogs more than they like cats? It's all to do with men's need to have a pet they have dominion over, says celebrity cat expert Jackson Galaxy.
Los Angeles-based Galaxy was in Wellington yesterday promoting a new series of his television show My Cat from Hell. In the programme, Galaxy takes on cats that are antisocial, violent or disruptive of the lives of their urban American owners, and finds practical solutions that bring peace to the household.
Often in male-female couples who he works with, there's a mismatch between the male approach to the cat and the female one - such as in how the man plays with (or fails to play with) the cat, or simply in a less committed or understanding attitude to the pet.
I asked Galaxy about the gender disparity, and he quickly warmed to the topic, on which he has developed a theory.
"Men do not like mystery," he said. "Men like to have things handed them on a silver platter. Men like to dominate - that's our history, we want to dominate, we want to put our fist over something and say 'this is mine'.
The role of water therapy - hydrotherapy - is long established for people recovering from injury or surgery, but now it's growing as a way to help dogs.
Wellington gained a specialist canine hydrotherapy centre, Aqua Hounds, late last year. A few days ago I watched a session at Aqua Hounds with Tess, the Dachshund who's recovering from surgery to restore movement to her hind legs.*
What hit me was how serious a discipline - and how serious a business - this is. Aqua Hounds fills an industrial unit not far from Wellington's CBD, and entering it is much like going into a human physical therapy clinic with its waiting room and consulting room and mild tang of pool chemicals in the air.
Owner Sarah Apperley started the session by giving Tess a check for wounds or sores, noting body measurements, and testing how much movement Tess had.
Don't you love being in your element? That place where you feel at your best, in charge, at ease, invincible? Life is about finding out what your element is, and being in it as much of the time as you can.
Same for dogs. Each dog has a zone of expertise, a spiritual home, just as you do. It might be an agility course, or it might be a war zone. Or it might be a rolling meadow studded with plugs of duck poo.
Let us celebrate dogs in their place of perfect comfort - their element.
Spanky was a hit in last Friday's blog, with his stern face and plump paws. Here he is again, at one with the land.
The other night, for the first time in ages, I played with a cat. Actually got out of my chair, on to the floor, and played with a cat, in that way most people don't admit publicly. I relearned three things related to pets.
Before listing my three relearnt lessons, let me tell you about the cat.
Calico cats are lucky and culturally esteemed, you know. You can read all about it.
Anyway, Molly is a petite 1-year-old calico, and I met her for the first time when I did babysitting duty with husband Tom at the weekend.
The sun. Remember that? Used to be here all the time, even outstayed its welcome. Now, it never calls. Except for a couple of angular hours, one day a week if we're lucky, then it vanishes.
Which, I suppose, means we should treat the sun's grudging visits as a special occasion and be, you know, grateful. Especially for how it makes our pets happy, and how it makes them look magnificently brilliant.
Shield your eyes - it's a collection of pets in the briefest, brightest sunlight.
Our cover-cat is Blue Peter, demonstrating what happens to a blue cat's coat in bright light - it occupies every shade between black and incandescent white.
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