Fighting Over Pets


An unnerving detour into the metastasizing world of pet custody disputes. This one really scared me:

Marder frowns on so-called "calling contests," a method used by lawyers in some custody cases, in which the owners stand at opposite ends of a room and call the pet to see which way it will go. She prefers to observe the animal's body language as it interacts with its owners. She looks at whether it sits closer to one or the other, and how it reacts when each pets it.

Under those conditions, I'd lose. Dusty is utterly indifferent to most humans; if she had to pick between me and a potato chip, I'd lose. Eddy, on the other hand, loves me but is devoted to my husband. And when I say devoted, I mean devoted. I'd lose again. That makes me feel like a bad owner. I think it just means they're beagles. And if I want them to remain in my life, I'd better stay married.