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Cheryl's World

MY TRUTH: Dear Pet Lovers…

I get it.

You love your pets. They are members of your family. They are better than members of your family. Your pets love unconditionally and are usually obedient. You trust them, they comfort you, and oftentimes if you don’t eat, or go to the doctor; you may have spent your last dime on food or medical attention for your furry friend.

You even have people selling their food stamps — for their children — so that they can buy dog food!

Comedian, activist and author Dick Gregory used to tell of a higher economic status neighborhood where he would see owners walking their dogs and picking up poop; while back at the mansion they had a nanny changing their children’s diapers! I encourage everyone to read rapper DMX’s autobiography, E.A.R.L.

It will help you understand why he was drawn to dogs and also why he turned into the man he became.


I am going to focus on dogs as pets.

Since I was a child, I have always been afraid of animals, and especially dogs. No family member could recall a traumatic experience in my life or point to a bite mark somewhere on my body. They just all knew Cheryl was afraid of dogs.

Long before the 13-year period of January 1, 2005 to December 31, 2017, when a study shows “canines killed at least 433 Americans. Pit bulls contributed to 66% of these deaths and Rottweilers, the second leading canine killer, inflicted 10% of attacks that resulted in human death,” I didn’t want to be in the company of dogs.

I remember telling my mother that I’d rather not go to her friends, or even our relatives’ homes, because they had a dog.

Both advice columnists Dear Abby and Ann Landers have written extensively about etiquette regarding dogs.


Folks believe you don’t have “Puffy” locked up when you come to “Puffy’s home.” I agreed.

I would just not visit that home. And no, I didn’t want to hear that Puffy-the pitbull is gentle and won’t bite.

For me, whether it is Puffy the pitbull or poodle, I also don’t want Puffy to lick, sniff, smell, snuggle or HUMP me!

I don’t want Puffy or Mitten the kitten all over me or the food I am going to eat. I’m just that way and I don’t pick fights or become disrespectful. I just become scarce.

I think there has to be a little understanding and compassion.


Which brings me to my truth.

You have people who care about pets more than they do people.

If George Floyd had been a dog; we’d never hear the end of the discussion and there would be billions of dollars raised in the name of dogs everywhere. It saddens me that we don’t appear to value the lives of hu- mans as much.

Many will say that dogs have significant value.

They are correct. They are comforting, a source of support.


September was National Service Dog Month and there are about 500,000 service dogs in the US. When you consider that 26% of adults in the United States have some type of disability and studies have proven that trained service dogs are very therapeutic; well we see the value.

But guess what?

While some of these dogs are therapeutic for their owners, they can be stressful for others.

Everyone does not have the same experience or love for dogs and dog owners need to realize this.

Just like everyone does not think your child is adorable, there are similar sentiments about dogs.

Or, cats, snakes etc. I still can’t get over these folks walking around tailgate parties at sporting events with a snake around their necks.

Oh, well!

While I may be in the minority, again, I do not like or want to be in the company of dogs or snakes. I don’t want to have one sitting next to me on a plane or in a restaurant and there has to be consideration for others who feel the same way.

I understand why people feel the way they do about dogs and I will respect them.
The same should be the case with dog lovers, because my desires, like the King of R&B Bobby Brown sings, is my prerogative!

Respect the feelings of those who do NOT like pets!

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