Scientists, not me, have determined that dogs may be more of a factor in global warming than Sports Utility Vehicles. In their book, "Time to Eat the Dog: The Real Guide to Sustainable Living," New Zealanders Robert and Brenda Vale analysed popular brands of pet food and calculated that a medium-sized dog eats around three hundred and sixty pounds of meat and two hundred and nine pounds of cereal a year. Combine the land required to generate its food and a "medium" sized dog has an annual footprint of about two acres. That's twice the footprint required by a 4x4 driving six thousand two hundred miles a year, including energy to build the car.
That's a lot of math to say that owning a dog is an extravagance in a world whose polar ice caps are melting. Cats' eco-footprint adds up to slightly less than driving a Volkswagen Golf for a year, while two hamsters equates to a plasma television and even the humble goldfish burns energy equivalent to two cell phones. Don't like the weather where you live? Blame the guy who owns the poodle next door.
If we must own pets, the Vales suggest, why not get something that doesn't upset the balance of nature so very much. They suggest hens to lay eggs. Or feed them something besides Fancy Feast Elegant Medley. Or make the very responsible choice of adopting a garden slug. They're great company, but not very good at catching a Frisbee.