Palma: Let’s talk about pets

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This is a weekly installment of Amanda Palma’s column series, “Hop Into It.”

It started with the Mexican drug cartel.

It was, of course, a hot July day when El Chapo escaped prison for the second time and was on the run. ‘Narcos,’ the story of the war on drugs in Colombia involving Pablo Escobar was released soon after in August, on Netflix. And finally, after six months, El Chapo was captured in January.

Later, mid-November, in Secaucus, New Jersey, my roommate, Zarahi Flores and her family adopted a two month-old bulldog. And yes, he named him after the Mexican drug lord, El Chapo.

“It was either that or Pablo Escobar, the Colombian drug lord,” Flores said. She and her family believed that the name was suitable with the current events and buzz about El Chapo that had been floating through the news after his second prison break. She jokingly said that she believes Chapo escaped from her house at least twice now. Her dog, not the actual drug lord. Imagine though? That would be a crime, ha.

Often, people will name their pets based on a favorite character, specific interest and in Chapo’s case — a current event.

When I was in third-grade, we adopted a rescue dog and my lame, and also genius, butt decided it would be super cool to name our dog Snoopy after the Peanuts character. I was really into those comics then. Now, we just call her Snoop and people think we named her after Snoop Dogg.

The Washington Post recently published an article about colleges that are becoming more accepting of four-legged friends.

“These days, Eckerd [College] has under 1,900 students, but it has 229 registered pets on campus. Of those, 132 are dogs or cats, and the remainder represent an exotic array of species, spokeswoman Robbyn Hopewell said,” according to The Post.

Last week, Cape Girardeau, Missouri announced that they are creating pet-friendly floors where students will be allowed to have a pet as their roommate. The overall goal for colleges doing this is to help incoming students transition into college more easily. Those with pet accommodations and service animals may also be able to interact more with people on pet-friendly floors, according to the article.

Now, I can’t technically speak for pet owners when I say this. But based on popular belief, I think most of us can agree that our pets have made a positive impact on our lives in some way. Even though they act like children, chew our boots until the zippers break, mark their territory and are a little moody, let’s face it — we still love ‘em. Dad, we know you love our dog. We know. Stop lying to yourself, man.

And, I don’t know about anyone else, but each time I come across a dog on the street, my day is instantly improved. I recently had a run-in with a dog in Barnes and Noble. His name was Buddy and he belonged to a lovely woman with a walker who was in search of a Mother’s Day card. He looked at me and I looked at him and before he started barking I was on the floor, sitting next to him scratching his teeny ears. I cannot express the rush of dopamine when I randomly come across a dog. It’s like drinking a good red wine, or rosé, without care for responsibilities. I heckin’ live for it.

Yes, Mimi is just a rabbit, but she is my rabbit. Everyday when I come home and I get to see her derpy little face and she runs to my feet, it makes my day a little better. And I think our pets can have that effect on us. They can make at least me feel a joy that I can’t really find with people.

My brother once said that “dogs are the best kinds of people,” and, hey pal, I think he was right, our pets can definitely be the best kinds of people.

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