The Trouble With Polly

Roberto Gonzalez

Live pets are just too much trouble, don’t you think?

That’s why there’s Perfect Polly. Surely you’ve seen the commercials. Polly is the motion-activated parakeet that swivels its head, chirps and shakes its “tail feathers’’ when you walk into the room. “Perfect Polly brings you all of the joy and none of the mess!’’ the announcer intones while a woman looks disgustedly at a messy tray fresh from a birdcage. Everyone in the ad is gaga over Polly except two of the actors—a real parakeet/budgie and a golden retriever, both of whom seem positively dumbfounded by the faux pet.

As someone commented on a YouTube posting of the commercial: “Good God. Smite us down.’’

But not so fast, my artificially feathered friend. There is an alternative—getting a living, breathing pet that brings you “all of the joy.’’ As for the mess? Well, think of it  this way: If you adopt a rescue pet, then you’re saving a gentle soul whose life had been a mess. At the same time, acquiring a pet can keep you from becoming a mess.

Our cover pet and the other finalists in our third annual pet issue are hardly the Polly types. From the cat devoted to his elderly canine friend to the dog who adores everyone he meets, these animals are loving, faithful and, in many cases, compassionate—qualities that we humans can only strive for. Also in our pet section: a  listing of top veterinarians, answers to health questions, a feature on summer camp at the University of Doglando and a getaway guide to dog-friendly St. Augustine.

Carrying through the animal theme, Answer Man explores the origins of a fascinating tile mosaic of bears on Mills Avenue, Samantha Rosenthal looks at the life of a snake charmer, and Extra Pulp columnist Greg Dawson tries to put into words his fondness for Pepsi—not the soft drink, but his family’s Havanese pooch.

Also in this issue: an eight-page overview of the upcoming arts season, including a feature on Orlando Ballet and its 16-year-old star, Arcadian Broad. And speaking of the arts, it’s time to start thinking about submitting your entries for consideration in our annual Paint the Town exhibit. Watch for details in next month’s issue. As always, we’re looking for artists’ vision of Orlando, whether it be through sculpture, painting, drawing, photography or mixed media. By “vision of Orlando,’’ we mean how you see our city and its environs in your mind’s eye. The exhibit will run for a month next March.

Barry Glenn

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