Celebrity Dogs of America
Last weekend, I attended America’s Family Pet Expo in Costa Mesa, California, which attracts thousands of people for a host of reasons: they love pets, they volunteer with rescue organizations, or they’re interested in buying their cats some quality business cards. One of the biggest draws, though, was the celebrity pet event—a showcase of trained dogs and cats who act in popular TV shows.
Like normal, non-dog-dominated events, the expo had its own black market: shortly after I stepped into the long admission line with the rest of the non-celebrity pets and humans, I got approached by a sketchy, nervous-looking guy who mumbled at me, “You guys want to buy some passes?” Yes, this man was a Pet Expo scalper. I bought a pass.
Although I was primarily there for the celebrity pets, there was no shortage of other entertainment. While walking through the expo, I watched several rounds of dachshund racing, pet an 18-pound rabbit, and spotted more than a few dogs who were better dressed than I was.
Your Dog Is Full of Dirty Diseases
Illustration by Mimi Leung
Recent research has shown that sharing an ice cream cone with your dog or letting your cat nap on your face isn’t just unhygienic, it could kill you, shit-for-brains, so cut it out. A study published in Emerging Infectious Diseases in November reported that zoonotic infections—diseases transmitted between animals and humans—are on the rise, and some will make you so sick death will be almost certain.
These sorts of ailments are spread by parasites, fungi, bacteria, and viruses that originate not from pigeons, rats, and other varmint scum, but from within the warm bodies of our beloved household pets. According to Michael Day, lead author of the report and a professor of veterinary pathology at the University of Bristol, “as dogs and cats have moved from the barn to the bedroom, the potential for disease spreading to humans increases.” Michael predicts that the next global health threat could be a pet-borne zoonotic superbug.
You Will Never Be as Rich as These Pets
When you’re about to be kicked out of your squat and are scanning the sidewalk for enough change to buy some ramen noodles, you always dream that someday you’ll somehow land in a fat pile of dough. Maybe it’ll be the lottery, or a personal-injury lawsuit, or a trust fund your parents forgot to tell you about. Hate to break it to you, but it’s never going to happen. You’re going to die a poor, sad schmuck.
But do you know who is richer than you? Yes, a bunch of fat right-wing white guys, pasty tech geniuses in hoodies, and shady Russian oligarchs, but also a lot of animals. Yes, animals! The following pets are all millionaires, and you’re still trying to use that expired student ID to get two bucks off at the movies on Tuesday night. And you know what? That’s just the way the world works. Might as well accept it and move on.
Gunther IV: Worth $373 million
This German shepherd—the world’s richest dog—inherited his money from his father, who was left $80 million in 1991 by his owner, German countess Karlotta Liebenstein. The other $300 million came from money his trustees made in investments. Yeah, he has people who work for him. He also owns Madonna’s old Miami mansion. How many of you are wondering if you can marry a dog?
Toby Rimes: Worth $80 million
The rich keep getting richer. Toby’s great-great-great-dogfather, the original Toby, was the pampered poodle of crazy rich lady Ella Wendel, who left him all her money when she died in 1931. The endowment, passed from dog to dog ever since, has been growing as your chances of getting a job dwindle.
Luke, Layla, Sunny, Lauren, and Sadie: Worth $30 million
Oprah Winfrey won’t even give us one of her favorite things, but her will reportedly provides a fortune for whatever dogs she leaves behind when she dies. That is, if Oprah is not immortal, which I find hard to believe.
The Cute Show - Syrian Hamsters
A photo of a fat, furry hamster sitting on a bed of pillows chowing down on some grain with a hookah in the background may seem like an inappropriate usage of one of the last remaining pages of an issue dedicated to Syria. But we want to make it clear that this ancient culture isn’t all guns and explosions and death and crackdowns by the secret police—there’s cute to be found, if you look hard enough. Syrian hamsters, also known as golden hamsters, are native to Syria (duh) and were first discovered in 1830 by British zoologist George Robert Waterhouse. These furry bags of joy love desert climates and stuffing as much food into their cheek pouches as possible—in fact, their Arabic name roughly translates as “Mr. Saddlebags.” Not joking. But don’t let their overwhelming cuteness fool you: These guys are extremely territorial and frequently get into scraps with neighboring hamsters or even other family members. And if baby hammies happen to come into contact with humans, their mother will kill and eat them since any unfamiliar scent is considered a threat. Even the smallest of creatures DO NOT fuck around over there. Damn, and this was supposed to be the cute part of the issue.
Considering the current hostile environment, we thought it best not to travel to the Syrian desert to find a hamster to rub against our faces, but you can buy them at basically any pet store. To see some other cute animals we were actually able to hang with, check out episodes of The Cute Show!
When Vice asked me to shoot Pets. Pasta. Shoes. Glasses. I graciously accepted and then proceeded to scratch my head for days.
1. I had no idea how we were ever in a million years going to find enough people with weird pets in a city.
2. And honestly, maybe this should even be number 1, but I didn’t “get it.” At pitch time the whole thing seemed a little Adult Swim-ish to me and I haven’t been into the pot since college. Sorry, hippie dad.
Here’s the thing, though. Andrea Rosen was pitching this story and I am a huge fan of hers. So not only was I not sure what was so funny, I was also insecure that my comedy palette wasn’t sophisticated enough to keep up. Andrea and Vice sitting together at the cool kids’ comedy table and me, as usual, the nerd with the balls peeking out of his Umbros.
Read the rest at Vice Magazine: BEHIND THE PETS, PASTA, SHOES, AND GLASSES - Viceland Today
I love pets, pasta, shoes, and glasses.