The great dog vs. cat debate

Mel’s on one side. I’m on the other.
And our beloved “Byron” (Mel’s Lab/Irish Setter/German Shepherd mix) and “Gus” (my cat) are at the heart of our rivalry. Having each lived at one point or another with both dogs and cats, Mel and I have seen the advantages and disadvantages of each pet, but ultimately have a different preference.
Growing up, like most youngsters, I pleaded to get a dog. My mom thoroughly dislikes cats, so that wasn’t an option and it seemed everyone had a dog.
By the time I was in the eighth grade, I had saved up enough money—and did enough begging—to purchase a pure-bred border collie, which we named “Misty.”
As much as I love Misty (who still lives with my mom and dad), the “I promise I’ll take care of her” wasn’t exactly fulfilled. Instead of me getting up each morning to take her outside for a walk, it was my dad who took care of her—and still does.
Owning a dog just seems like too much work for a somewhat lazy girl like me.
Mel isn’t nearly as lazy as I am and she says it’s all worth it to have “Byron.” She doesn’t mind getting up to take him out to the bathroom, cleaning up the recycling he tends to pull out of the Blue Box, or being woken up bright and early by the playful pup.
Mel and her roommate got Byron about two years ago from the Friends of Animals here. They quickly house-trained him and he now, for the most part, doesn’t touch or destroy anything he’s not allowed to.
He is a very good dog.
I, being Auntie Heather, do like Byron very much. In fact, Byron’s Auntie Jenni (the former sports reporter here at the Times) and I helped celebrate Byron’s second birthday in January—giving him a present of pigs’ ears and a rope toy.
I just don’t think I could give a dog all the attention he or she would deserve. I’m often out of the apartment all day and sometimes cover evening events, as well.
I make sure I feed Gus and give him attention when I’m home. But when I’m gone, he can take care of himself.
Gus was given to me three-and-a-half years ago as a Christmas present from my boyfriend. Just barely six weeks old, he was the cutest little ball of orange and white fur I had ever seen.
When we moved here last October, Gus sat beside me the entire U-haul ride from Halifax.
He is a very curious, attentive, and cuddly cat, who waits on the window ledge until I get home and scampers to the door the minute I turn the key.
The only part I hate is cleaning out the litter box, which Mel says she would despise, as well. I agree it’s not much fun, but it’s easier than having to take the pet outside several times a day.
Cats might not be quite as much fun as dogs because you can’t take them to the park or for a ride in the car, and they may not be as friendly, intelligent, or loyal. But I think it really just depends on the animal itself.
Quite frankly, there are some dogs that are loud, mean, and scary while others just drool too much. There also are cats that are boring, lazy, smell, and, of course, they shed.
But all pets have different personalities just like people—you like some, you dislike some.
While I would prefer to own a cat (I think I mentioned they are much easier to take care of), I do like dogs, too, especially Byron and Misty. And I know Mel likes Gus, too; she would just rather own a dog.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both pets. So I guess we would say—to each his (or her) own.
This is likely not the end of the age-old debate, but Mel and I are calling a truce to this rivalry. We wouldn’t want the pets to suffer.

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