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Posted on Sat, Nov 27, 2010 : 8 p.m.

If you could change one thing about your pet, what would it be?

By Lorrie Shaw


flickr photo courtesy of pmarkham

Over the years, Chris and I and our pets have grown alongside each other, but it hasn't been without a few glitches along the way.

There are a few things that Chris and I have both voiced that we would like not to happen when it comes to all three companion animals — our dogs, Gretchen and Bruiser, and Silver, our cat.

With the number of households in the United States owning at least one pet, I would venture to say many people have experienced things similar to what we have in our house.

Our cat has a ritual with Chris — an annoying one at that — that consists, each morning, of Silver sitting outside of the bedroom doorway and vocalizing as loudly as he can, over and over. He does this because he knows that before Chris leaves for the day, he'll get some dry cat food. Even if I'm home and toss him some food, it doesn't matter: Chris has to do it, and only then does he quiet down. One thing that helps is to keep him occupied with a foraging toy.

Bruiser, our yellow Labrador had a habit of pulling on his leash, but after getting a front-clip harness, that stopped.

Being a St. Bernard/Shepherd mix, Gretchen has most of the great qualities of both breeds, right along with one quality that they share that's not so favorable: their coarse, thick, fur. It drives us crazy. She sheds so badly sometimes, that whenever she gets up and walks, she looks like Pig-Pen from the Peanuts cartoon (yes, I do brush her and use a deshedding tool, etc.). Shedding is something that we just have to live with.

There are also things that we adore — their personalities and their rapport with each other.

There are things that we would ideally change if we could, but that's life with pets. After all, we've got ourselves and two other species co-existing together; that can be asking a lot, in my book.

But, all of this got me thinking: What, if anything, would other people change about their pets?

Participate in the conversation! Take the poll and leave your comments:

Lorrie Shaw is owner of Professional Pet Sitting, and a regular contributor to's pet section. She wrote the popular piece "Excessive barking problem? Local behaviorist/trainer offers safe, humane solutions". Reach her via e-mail and follow her pet adventures on Twitter.


Sarah Rigg

Mon, Nov 29, 2010 : 3:43 p.m.

My cat is a big talker. He mrows and says "Hullo!" very loudly - I wish I could capture it on video. This is cute sometimes, but other times, I really wish I had a remote control with a mute button for him!

Lorrie Shaw

Sun, Nov 28, 2010 : 11:24 p.m.

Thanks for taking the time to offer your experiences with your pets; they sound like wonderful beings. It's hard to see pets suffer, experience fear; to struggle in our world. We have a pooch who was adopted at an adult age and while we're unclear about his treatment before "us", but we're pretty sure that it wasn't what it should have been. He's done very well acclimating through what are challenging experiences for him, but we always need to be mindful. He's a great dog. Stunshif: My sympathies are with you; I understand that it's going to be a tough time ahead. May your memories of your Trixie bring you joy and smiles. Ann: Don't let the idea that Scruffy doesn't play make you think that he's not happy. I think that some dogs are just happy with what they've got in their lives. He likes to be outdoors, to be with people - that might just be enough for him. :) Pets rule.


Sun, Nov 28, 2010 : 1:11 a.m.

Aw, arborani. At least he went peacefully. As far as my dog, at first I was thinking that I wish he knew how to play because I'm afraid he gets bored. But I get him riled up now and then, and he loves to be outside. But then someone mentioned fur, and I realized THAT is my biggest issue with the Scruffman. He has thin fur that is really more like hair. It gets matted so, so easily. He's spoiled but you would never guess that by looking at his fur. Especially on his underside.


Sat, Nov 27, 2010 : 9:18 p.m.

Right on arborani. Wouldn't change a thing about my puppy(7yrs. old). Does he have quirks? Yes. Love every minute of it. Can't imagine life without him!


Sat, Nov 27, 2010 : 8:57 p.m.

How would I change my dog? He died in his sleep last winter; I would like him alive again, and healthy, and young. He was the sweetest big lug in the world, with a heart even larger than the hole he left in our lives.


Sat, Nov 27, 2010 : 8:39 p.m.

Hello Patti, I have a Maine Coon Kitty named "Mr.Buddy". My biggest problem is my newly adopted ( July 5th)Jack Russell Elwood ( Woody) who I caught urinating on my furniture recently. He also is still doing number 2 in the house, thank goodness they are small. We currently have our 16 year old Trixie ( Yorkie-Poo)in a large crate because she is blind,deaf and has no hair and has lost her ability to know when she needs to go out. We should have put her down during the summer but that is so hard to do. We plan on letting her go to doggie heaven on monday and then we can start the crate training on Woody. I think I am "nuts" to want all these animals but I do love their unconditional love they give us!


Sat, Nov 27, 2010 : 8:34 p.m.

My cat, Jack, gets dreadlocks. Seriously! Huge fur balls under his long coat of hair. Drives me crazy! He seems to be ok with this radical look though...

Patti Smith

Sat, Nov 27, 2010 : 12:50 p.m.

Buddy is generally a gooddog but we got him when he was 3, and he had never been properly socialized. Also, he is a Jack Russell-beagle mix and therefore he must be the Alpha at all times. Other dogs learn very, very quickly that Buddy must be the Alpha and some of them don't necessarily agree with the situation. Chaos ensues.

Mary Bilyeu

Sat, Nov 27, 2010 : 9:34 a.m.

My cat sheds enough that we could have built a tower to the moon and back with all the fuzz he's lost since '98; and my dog likes to lick things, like pillows... sigh. But whaddya gonna do??? They're my babies... :)