An Opinion Essay: Human-Pet Relationship

With the existence of millions of pet owners in the world, it is very common to find a pet in a household. Relationships with pets often get close, to the extent of taking them as family members. Either it’s a dog, a cat, a bird, a rodent, a fish, a reptile, or even a pig, it doesn’t make any difference. Personally, I don’t think such relationships can cause any harm. In fact, it helps in many ways.

As the saying goes, we have more to learn from animals than animals have to learn from us. For example, dogs don’t compare themselves to others, whereas humans live in comparisons. It doesn’t matter what is being done, but a comparison seems to be a must for us to see who fares better, unlike dogs. Even when their haircut was done badly one day, for example, and it seemed to be impossible to meet the world in that kind of state in the eyes of humans, dogs would still go out and blend in with the others when let out in the park, and they wouldn’t be seen with discriminating eyes from other dogs. They are considered to be the same by themselves, equal with the others, whether their haircut looks bad or not. It doesn’t matter, no comparison was made.

Socially, pets help introverts, especially young-aged ones. Some children have never been able to open themselves up to the society, causing themselves to lack in social skills and interactions. However, pets can help solve this problem. I have ever watched how a little boy in his typically young age started to open himself up to people because of a pet rat he adopted. He was originally a shy boy, but when his pet rat came into his life, being seriously treated as a member of the family, he gradually opened up and had more interactions with people than never before. A dog can also be trained to provide affection and comfort to people in hospitals or retirement homes, hence the existence of therapy dogs.

Being one of the most trainable dog breeds, Border Collies are smart. Watched through TV, I have seen a Border Collie recognizing letters and words. That Border Collie was trained to learn the names of his toys. He would be shown a word, obviously the name of his toy, and then he could just go and grab the corresponding toy. That proves that dogs know how to read, or should I say memorize the patterns of the words. And smart enough, if he was shown a new word that he has never learned before, he would grab a new toy out of the pile, guessing for it to be the answer for the newly-learned word. With this, it can be proven that a dog’s intelligence is on a par with a 2-year-old kid. There’s no wrong in having an intelligent pet as a family member, isn’t it?

But mostly, pets are taken as members of the family because of the unconditional love pets can offer. Josh Billings has ever stated that a dog is the only thing on Earth that loves you more than you love yourself. The love that is offered is incomparable. A mother’s love often touches people by their hearts, and this does not exclude the love of a mother from the animal kingdom. I have ever read about the noble love of a mother cat. She had 5 kittens who were trapped inside a burning building. However, she risked herself and carried her kittens out, one at a time. This basically means that she had braved herself into the fire for 5 times, and that nearly took her life. But fortunately, a firefighter noticed the mother cat and her kittens, taking them to see a vet right away. In the end, all of them could be saved and what the mother cat did after retrieving her consciousness was to count her kittens, whether the correct amount was there.

And to most pet owners, the emotions and feelings endured when pets breathe their last are equal to losing a family member, and it’s possibly because of the bond that has been wonderfully developed over years of living with them.

Written by Celia Fransisca in early 2014

P.S. I’m really overwhelmed by the 4000 visits, thank you!

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Curse of the Call

Standing in front of a library of books organized and stacked nicely in the bookstore shelves, a lone lady in her 20s was seen browsing a book. She flipped through the pages in which there were approximately tens of thousands of words, and read some sentences before she walked to the counter, being allured, ready to purchase it. It was almost night time when she walked out of the bookstore. Realizing it was late enough, she hurried to her car and drove home.

Upon arriving home, she immediately got herself ready on her bed, anxious to read the book that she had just bought. But before she could start flipping through the first page of the book, lights went out. It was pitch-black in her room, not even a thing could be seen. She was alone in the dark when suddenly she heard loud footsteps under her bed. Her calm state was suddenly disrupted. She became petrified and alerted when she heard the sudden mysterious sound. The sound became louder and louder. However, no matter how many seconds had passed and how loud the sound had gotten, the owner of the footsteps wouldn’t appear.

She then mustered up her courage and tried to see what was going on, as she was a curious lady by nature. Being blind at that time, she struggled using her sense of touch. After she got off her bed and ducked to see what could have been there, she noticed a source of dim light under her bed. Feeling that it could be the owner of the mysterious sound, she crept into it fearfully and finally, she realized that it was actually a cell phone. Indeed, the sound got louder and louder as she moved towards it, that it became obvious to her that the cell phone was the owner of the sound, after all.

Somehow relieved, she noticed that someone was calling into the phone after looking at what was on the screen. Being curious for yet another time, she answered the call, “You answered when the footsteps were calling. Now you’re in for something grave. Someone will come and look for you this approaching Friday the 13th. You will only know what is going to happen to you on that day. There’s no telling what kind of situation you will be in, and you can’t undo the curse, either. You can throw this phone away and escape to a corner of the world, but the curse will still be there.” And the sound echoed for a while before the call ended. The lady answering the phone was glazed and lifeless. She didn’t say anything in response to the call.

Soon after, the lights went on again. As she was under her bed, she wasn’t attacked directly by the sudden brightness that would usually hurt one’s eyes. However, the dazed lady was slightly astonished after noticing the brightness in her room from under her bed. She crept out while holding the mysterious phone. She then sat on her bed to take a good look at the phone she was holding. It was clearly not hers. Externally, the phone looked normal and common. Internally, it seemed empty. There were no inbox messages, contacts, and even no call logs! The call that she had just answered weren’t recorded in the phone. She thought to herself, “Was I just imagining that? Or did someone play a prank on me?” She was dazed in her room, thinking about all possibilities.

The next morning, the lady led her life as usual. She drank the coffee that she had prepared before going to work. It was only 2 days away from the appointed Friday the 13th, and yet the lady didn’t seem to be too bothered about it. She thought about the matter in a more logical way. There was no way someone could look for her no matter where she would be. And just because she answered a mysterious call, she got herself cursed by the other end of the line? She thought that was impossible and not logic in every way. She had even left the phone inside her bedroom drawer.

Nevertheless, the day came. It was Friday the 13th. Nothing happened since morning until she got off from her work. She was walking to the parking lot from her office while looking for her car key inside her messy handbag, ready to drive home. On her way home, she drove past the usual route, but on that decisive day, a hooded figure flashed through her mind. She slightly shook her head, causing the disappearance of the mysterious figure. However, just like seeing a nightmare coming true with one’s own eyes, the hooded figure could be seen waiting for her in front of her house. The lady opened her car door and got out of her car before noticing the approaching enemy. Breaking into cold sweats, she stood there stiffly, unable to move due to her fear.

Written by Celia Fransisca in 2013

The Bionic Domination

After various predictions by experts regarding traitorous, false-hearted robots had been made, proficient scientists who were tasked to guide scientists of the next generation decided to teach them not to be too competitive as it might lead to disastrous results.

In the year 2459, those noncompetitive scientists had successfully invented their own version of robot slaves in the form of cats, which were coded NR70. After their market release, with the original NR70 in the hands of the scientists, these robot felines were then commonly known as “Nero” by the society. Nero, a type of a technological pet-cum-slave of the modern era, had been leisurely used by humans to assist them throughout their lives. Although they were not able to perform complex tasks and not entirely automatic, they still proved useful for the humans by helping them do things that they had been programmed to do.

However, those friendly, cordial days of owning a Nero didn’t last quite long. A few years after the release of the Neros, an ambitious scientist decided to break the rules and run a research on human robots with more sophisticated brains that were able to perform more complicated tasks. After several years of researching, the ambitious scientist was finally able to create his very own human robot, coded RB07. As he did the research without a legal permit, he wasn’t exactly allowed to use RB07 publicly. Even so, he insistently persisted to grant himself a permit to use it. And hence, since the creation of the RB07, he had been using it himself behind the society’s back.

Until one day, the more advanced brain of RB07 instructed the RB07 itself to deny the ambitious scientist. It turned against him and even knocked him out when he tried to stop his creation. RB07 ran out to the public, immediately aimed for the original NR70, intending to recruit allies. Those noncompetitive scientists were no match for the advanced human robot, and RB07 easily reached to where the original NR70 was. He hacked the system, which immediately affected the rest of the NR70 owned by humans, and made the robot felines his. He took full control of the cats, and those controlled felines directly turned against the humans. The world was then dominated by RB07 and his sidekicks, NR70.

Written by Celia Fransisca in 2013

The One-Horned Hunt

“Get your bags ready! Somebody called to say he had spotted a unicorn in the local woodland. As we know, a unicorn may be harmless, but we can never guarantee that it won’t be aggressive. Winfield, you should get yourself ready too. You’re coming with us”, said Hebron, who was my expedition team leader. I was shocked with what I heard. I was a newbie who had just joined the expedition team in less than half a year. My usual job was to help my seniors prepare things before they set off for an expedition or to arrange their expedition data into a presentable folder. I never expected myself to be able to come to this day, when I would be joining them.

“Winfield, why are you still standing there? Where’s your bag?”, asked Hebron. I was so thrilled and excited for my first expedition. I quickly rushed over to the corner of the room, looked inside my bag, and checked whether I was fully equipped. I didn’t miss any of my expedition equipment out, so I speculated I was ready.

We set off by car and during the journey to get to the local woodland, Hebron handed out his strategy and told us all about his plans, “Angolan, I’m planning for you to offer yourself as a bait this time. It is most likely that the unicorn will break out into a rage when it sees you. So I suggest you to place yourself in front of a tree and obviously let yourself be seen, and when it approaches you, find the best opportunity to rush behind the tree. The unicorn should then get its horn stuck on the tree. Now Naracort, Bredille, Winfield, and the rest of you, find yourselves a good place to hide and wait for the best timing to catch the unicorn after its horn gets stuck on the tree. As for Winfield, wait for my signal before you rush to the scene. You’re new in this, so don’t take things into your own hands. I instructed you to come over with us this time because I felt you needed to experience something new other than staying inside the headquarters, getting yourselves busy with the documents. So I hope you can appreciate this opportunity given to you. Okay, so as for all of you, do you have any questions? If not, then get yourselves ready. The Northwest Indiana Woodland is close.”

We arrived and got ourselves down onto the ground. There, I saw something glorious. I was officially ready to help catch the unicorn along with Hebron and my fellow seniors.

Written by Celia Fransisca in 2013

1st Dish: Fried Chicken

The last day of National Examination literally marked the start of my day-offs from Senior High. School attendance is temporarily no longer something mandatory for me. I’ll have time on my hands for, at least, 3 months. Previously – before my National Examination – I had vaguely declared to my family that I would like to learn cooking during my day-offs. Both my mother and my aunt are great cooks, so why waste the chance? I don’t want to end up being a cannot-cook wife and mother in the future.

Well, it has been a week since my last day of exam and my first cooking session hasn’t started until today. Formerly, I just had no idea how to bring up this matter until this morning. Being forgetful, I didn’t know exactly what my mother had mentioned, but it concerned how I wanted to learn cooking. And so, I asked my mother when I can start to learn a few cooking skills. With that, it all began. I helped to cook dinner today, although it was only one dish out of two.

The menu today is Fried Chicken and Salted Veg (Kiam Chye) with Pork Soup. I only helped to prepare Fried Chicken because the Salted Veg with Pork Soup had already been prepared beforehand in the late afternoon. I suppose my aunt thought I was only joking with my question this morning, which could probably explain why she didn’t call me when she was cooking dinner. When she started her hands on the Fried Chicken, my mother noticed and called me down. Perhaps you’re wondering why my mother didn’t cook? Well, being a Tupperware agent, my mother’s a mid-businesswoman. Although her Tupperware “outlet” is located at our home, she’s still busy with her Tupperware stuffs. That’s why my aunt helps her out with her housework, including cooking.

I was late in cooking the Fried Chicken, as my aunt had already added spices to the chicken. But then, she explained what she added to which I tried to remember and recognize. Next, I was told to coat the spiced chicken with starch. I didn’t know the chicken was supposed to be cold, so when I finally laid my hands on the clumps of meats, I was slightly startled. But then I adapted to it and it was quite fun coating the chicken in starch. After that, we started to fry them. When I was busy coating the chicken in starch, I supposed my aunt had already prepared the oil on the frying pan – which was bigger than the average size – because the moment I turned my back, the pan was ready with the cooking oil.

I’m a bit terrified of frying stuffs, since both my mother and my aunt had ever experienced getting themselves scalded by hot oils. But with my aunt’s guidance, I could fry them successfully. First off, we decided that my aunt should show me how to fry them first before I laid my hands on it. My considerate aunt made things easier for me. She would usually use a short spatula to fry stuffs, but she took out a longer spatula for me, putting into her thought that I would be afraid of hot oil considering that was my first time. And she would also usually use only her hands to put the starch-coated chicken into the frying pan, but then she took out tongs to assist me in gripping, lifting, and putting the chicken on the pan. All we had to do after the chickens were on the pan was to wait before we turned the chicken over for it to fry on the opposite side. After all was done, we put the fried chickens onto the skimmer to skim off the oils first before we put them on a napkin-based plate, so that all those oils on the chicken could be absorbed by the napkins and after that, we put them into the dish plate, ready to be served.

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Whilst learning how to cook, I took chances to take pictures of the process and the result (well, mainly for this blog post!) with my mother’s Samsung Note II. My Nokia phone has a 5 megapixel camera, but it’s not working. Even though it’s working, the photo taken will also be blurry. I don’t know what happened to my phone, perhaps due to its old age or constant falls, but some stuffs are not working anymore. I have an iPad 2, but iPad 2 is known for its low-megapixel camera. I don’t really use my iPad 2’s camera unless it’s really the only way out. My Canon EOS 60D? Too troublesome, not exactly portable.

Knowing I used her smartphone to take pictures, after I finished cooking, my mother started to mention one matter that I’ve been wanting to hear. She said, “You want an iPhone?” to which I immediately answered, “Yeah!” My family knows my dream phone is an iPhone and now that I’m kind of on my way to college in Jakarta, it’s time I should get a new phone, fortunately sponsored by my father. In my family, I’m the only one with the least advanced phone. All of my family members have smartphones! Well, at least a Blackberry at the worst. I’m yearning to have my own iPhone, but then I will be going against my principles if I go and ask or even pester my father for an iPhone soon. So all I did was to wait for it patiently. Besides, I have my iPad 2 (even though I’m sharing it with my little brother) for convenient social networking services.

Continuing with the conversation,

Mother : “Are you sure you want an iPhone?”

Me : “Yeah.”

Mother : “An iPhone? Why not Samsung? You don’t like Samsung?”

Me : “No, I want an iPhone. I don’t like Samsung. The system is different.”

(Well, I’m already used to iOS since I use iPad 2. I don’t like Android anyways. I’ve tried my parents’ Android-based phone, and I don’t like it. I find it complicated comparing to iOS. iOS is definitely more convenient.)

Mother : “You want it now?”

Me : “It’s up to Dad. By the way, who’s going to buy it for me? Mum or Dad?”

Mother : “Of course, it’s your Dad! I don’t have any money.”

Me : “Okay, it’s all up to Dad then.”

Mother : “In my opinion, it’s better for you to receive your iPhone later. Maybe on June.”

(I had previously been thinking when my father would buy me an iPhone. I had this feeling that it’s not soon, perhaps on June, during my birthday?)

Me : “I dunno..”

But still, I’m just glad this matter is mentioned.

Well, anyways, my aunt told my mother that the Fried Chicken was prepared by me tonight and the Salted Veg with Pork Soup was prepared by her, so it was a dinner prepared by both of us. My Little Aunt (my mother’s younger sister) also came and had her dinner here. When she saw me, she said that she was eating the Fried Chicken I cooked to which I said, “But aunt spiced the chicken. I only helped with the frying.”