How Much is that Dinosaur in the Window?

Pet Prohibition

Last year, my oldest daughter Grace considered adopting a dog from an animal shelter. There are several in our state and so she began the application process. Little did she or anyone else in our family know what a challenge that would be.

You would have thought Grace was applying for top-secret clearance with the CIA.

The shelters wanted information on her entire life; multiple letters of recommendation including one from a sitting member of Congress (but it didn’t have to be from our state, Connecticut), retina scan, fingerprints, if she was old enough (she’s not) a colonoscopy report, proof of COVID-19 immunizations, a picture of her on a gossip magazine to prove she was a celebrity (I Photoshopped that), more references but they had to come from other dogs endorsed with their paw print and notarized, Social Security, credit card and bank account numbers, baptismal document, police record (she has none that I know of) and what her favorite ice cream flavor is (coconut). All this just to get a chance at an interview with the humans running these places.

Grace filling out paperwork for adopting a dog.

Once she had her interviews and before she could see a real live dog, she had to provide more information including but not limited to; voice print identification, a DNA sample, successfully completing a math problem that’s part of the entrance exam to MIT. Say the word dog in 10 different languages including one that’s no longer spoken, make the 7-10 split in bowling (three tries) and a visit to her home by the organizations to ensure it’s not one of the nine levels of hell. Then and only then, would she be granted an audience with the almighty canine.

Since Grace isn’t as famous as Gal Gadot, she wound up seeing just two dogs, more along the lines of a Britt Robertson-type celeb.

So, what does Grace get for all the information and blood she provided these facilities? A lack of intelligence about the dogs she would meet.

The first rescue service omitted that their pooch had kennel cough and was high-strung while the second group told Grace their dog was significantly younger than it really was and it didn’t like certain members of both the human and animal populations.

What did Grace do? She ditched getting a dog and instead focused on obtaining her LCSW license, which she did.

You get the impression that it’s harder to adopt a dog than a person.

Human adoption agency: “Here Grace, fill out all this paperwork, pay us a fee and here’s your kid. The child has its shots and a chip implanted in the neck just in case your youngster runs away. Have a nice day.”

Typical interview process in Connecticut to adopt a dog or cat. Courtesy: Once Upon a Wheat, Bill & Terri Wheat.

In a roundabout way, that brings us to the topic of trying to obtain a dog, cat or rabbit from a pet store in our neighboring state of New York.

Hypothetical conversation between a customer (Grace) and a pet store owner in the Empire State based on a real law.

Grace: “I’d like to buy a dog.”

Pet store owner: “Sorry, we don’t sell dogs.”

Grace: “Really?”

Pet store owner: “Really.”

Grace: “Then I’d like to buy a cat.”

Pet store owner: Sorry, we don’t sell cats.”

Grace: “This is a pet store, right?”

Pet store owner: “Correct.”

“Grace: “I didn’t want to go down this road, but can I buy a rabbit?”

Pet store owner: “No.”

Grace: “Why the hell not! You’re a pet store and you sell pets, correct?”

Pet store owner: “Sorry miss, but it’s against the law for us to sell dogs, cats and rabbits.”

Grace: “WTF!” (Note: my daughter can swear like a sailor when she wants to)

Pet store owner: “That’s a correct observation miss. Our state legislature just passed the so-called Puppy Mill bill. They don’t want us to sell dogs, cats or rabbits that are bred by people who are considered cruel by inflicting physical and psychological abuse on those animals at those type of places. Of course, our state law can’t stop the animal breeding mills that are outside of New York, which is most of them. Instead, they want folks like you to go to an animal shelter and adopt a pet. I can recommend a few if you’d like.”

One of many New York state pet stores that don’t sell pets anymore. Courtesy: Ullstein bild | Getty Images (sort of).

Grace: “No f***ing way I’m I going through that again. If I can’t buy a dog, cat or rabbit, what else do you have?”

Pet store owner: “The law only covers those animals so I have a few other choices. How about a frog?”

Grace: “No, I can go to a pond and catch one myself.”

Pet store owner: “Ferret?”

Grace: “Interesting, but no. Do you have something bigger?”

Pet store owner: “I have rhinoceros, grizzly bears, Mongolian camels and Indian elephants. Plus a few other species that I don’t think you’d be interested in.”

Grace: “Do you have a baby rhino, bear, camel or elephant?”

Pet store owner: “Sorry, we’re all sold out of baby animals. Once the Puppy Mill law got passed, everyone raced here for our baby animals including yaks, pythons and Tasmanian devils.”

Grace: “I really want a baby animal but not a frog. Don’t you have anything?”

Pet store owner: “I usually don’t mention this except to my best customers, but clearly you’ve been through the ringer trying to buy a pet. I have a Tyrannosaurus rex egg I’ve kept cryogenically frozen in the back room. You could take it home, incubate it and presto, a baby T. rex. Just make sure you’re the first thing it sees, then it will imprint on you and be your best friend for life. After it reaches maturity, which means your pet will be about 40 feet long, 12 to 13 feet high at the hips and weigh around nine tons with teeth that could be 8 to 12 inches long; you can come back to our fair state and sic it on members of the state legislature. Also, you don’t need a license for it either, at least not yet.

Grace’s pet T. Rex, Buster, visits the New York State Assembly for some lobbying and lunch selections.

Grace: “What do I feed it?”

Pet shop owner: “Anything it wants, but it prefers Democrats in the spring and Republicans in the summer. I’ve been told it treats Libertarians like desert and craves them all year long.

Grace: “Do you sell leashes for Tyrannosaurus rexes? I wouldn’t want my schmoopy to run away and be lost.”

Pet shop owner: “I don’t know what the leash laws are in your town or state, but it’s wise of you to have one for your pet. We so happen to carry T. rex leashes along with Brontosaurus, Stegosaurus, Triceratops and few others that escape me right now.”

Grace: “Oh thank you very much! I can’t wait to bring my baby T. rex home.”

Pet shop owner: “You’re welcome. Just do me one favor.”

Grace: “What’s that?”

Pet shop owner: “Don’t tell anyone where you got your pet. I have enough issues with PETA.”

Grace: “Understood. One more thing I forgot to ask. Should I spay or neuter my T. rex?”

Pet shop owner: “I wouldn’t try that.”

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