This is the time of year when we find out which pet has won the Rover Awards -- the canine and feline version of the Oscars.
The Rover Award winner for Art Direction goes to Molly the anxious cat. Her creative placement of cat poop in the middle of the den was her attempt to spell S-O-S. She stopped using her litter box when the household teenager started playing the video game Rock Band. Molly may not be entertained by the loud music, but sure certainly has a flair for "carpet art." Perhaps it is time to find a new location for the litter box?
This year's Rover Award for Costume Design goes to a talented puppy named Chewy. A sculptor at heart, he carefully reshaped the shoes in the house to resemble modern art. Of course, Chewy's muse was Ennui, the Goddess of Boredom. A little exercise and a few toys might have saved those shoes.
The Animated Feature award is given to the Rowdy Five. This pack of dogs becomes very animated whenever the owner comes home -- barking, running through the house, and creating general chaos. The owner unwittingly whips them into a frenzy by rewarding the zealous behavior with lots of attention (including yelling at the dogs) while they are running around. If only he'd ignore them at first and then give them attention when they settled down, the Rowdy Five would learn to behave like civilized dogs.
Best Actress in a Supporting Role is given to Pee Wee. She is definitely a follower, and is lost without the top dog in her house. Pee Wee is a bit neurotic and a little submissive -- adding to her cute neediness. She would actually become a happier, better-adjusted dog if the owner worked with her one-on-one. Taking her for walks and some individualized training will develop her self-confidence.
The Rover Award for Best Director goes to Princess. Without saying a word, Princess is able to use her facial expressions (sad brown eyes, pathetic look of "starvation") to get table scraps at every meal. Occasional treat time has now become an expected part of every meal -- gosh, why doesn't Princess eat very much dog food anymore? It's never occurred to our Best Director's owner to put the dog in another room during mealtime.
The winner in our Best Foreign Language category is Bliss (as in "ignorance is ..."). In a masterful performance, Bliss answers her owner in a foreign language whenever they are at the park. In one episode, the owner called "come here" three times, to which Bliss answered in Spanish, French and Teenager -- "que?", "pourquoi?," and "huh?"
This year's Best Makeup winner is Lil' Biscuit. Lil' Biscuit has learned that after getting in the trash or urinating on the floor, she can simply hide under the bed until the owner is no longer mad. Then they can make-up, and she doesn't even get into trouble. If only the owner had a way of catching Lil' Biscuit in the act and punishing her appropriately, these "accidents" would never happen.
Musical Score goes to the neighborhood cat that is in heat. This little cutie is yowling and growling and carrying on, hoping that some resourceful tomcat will sing the song of love with her. Let's hope that neither of them score and add to the pet overpopulation problem.
The Rover Award for Visual Effects is given to Scrappy, a dog that is eating cheap food -- causing him to shed a lot more, and this means that the owner's clothes and furniture are always coated with a blanket of pet hair. Good luck trying to find an outfit that won't show it!
And finally, Best Picture is given to a photogenic mutt named Daphne. Rescued from the shelter, it took a lot of work and love for Daphne to become a polite and social dog. Now, Daphne enjoys walks in the park and posing for photos. Congrats to Daphne and her owner for a job well done.
Dr. Jon Klingborg is a veterinarian associated with Valley Animal Hospital in Merced. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.