When Pets Are Like People


A FRIEND LOST her chicken the other day. Rosie the hen died after surgery on her drumstick. I guess that’s what you call a chicken leg, although I never really thought about it. What I have thought about, is what that bird meant to her owner. She was a pet and a friend, not to mention a provider of eggs for this Montclair family.

Some folks would have put Rosie down when she broke her leg. Others may have eaten her. But my friend tried to save her life. And these days, that’s not so unusual.

People have become so attached to their pets, they’re willing to spend big money on them. How else do you explain the waiting list for places like Happy Hound Doggy Day Care in Oakland? It costs as much as some child care centers and offers things like healthy meals, group interaction and even animal play structures. Their Web site shows a dog going down a slide.

Maybe it’s not such a bad idea, keeping your pet happy. A happy pet usually doesn’t bark or bite. But fancy food and play dates may not help every animal. For these pets, you need to pull out all the stops, like a friend of mine does. She gives her cat Prozac. You should hear that kitty purr.

SHOW TIME: If you feel like horsing around this Sunday, come out to the Sequoia Arena in Joaquin Miller Park (near Chabot Space & Science Center). The Montclair Horse Association is holding a free all day horse show for western and English style riders. We don’t often think about it, but there are miles of riding trails in the Oakland hills, including the 50-year-old Grass Valley trail which meanders through a greenbelt dotted with cattle. It’s just like the old west, if you take away the bikers and dog walkers you see along the way.

E-MAIL BAG: In the wake of my article on the penny roundup at local schools, reader Dagmar Serota says her organization is getting a big boost. Good Sense for Oakland has received a $5,000 grant from the Rex Foundation, the Grateful Dead’s charitable organization. The money will help pay for the costs involved in collecting pennies from Oakland schools. Since last August, those pennies have added up to more than $4,750 for local organizations. And the kids feel empowered when they realize their small change can make a big difference.

SHAKE AND QUAKE: We live in earthquake country, so we might as well face it and embrace it. The U.S. Geological Survey is having its annual open house June 3-4 in Menlo Park and reader George Sausedo says it’s a great chance to see what scientists are doing to predict the next Big One. For more information see http://openhouse.wr. usgs.gov.

GOING GREEK: Parking should be easier at the wildly popular Greek Festival this weekend. The Ascension Greek Orthodox Cathedral has added 300 spaces in its new parking pavilion, along with valet parking for $15 this year. Of course, you can still park for free on the street, but with 15,000 people expected — valet parking may just be the way to go.

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