This past week, NCIS & The Good Wife (TGW), centered their entire episode, including one dramatic final scene, on the value a pet in a person’s life. In NCIS, a marine was killed by friendly fire and his bomb-sniffing dog helped solve the case. In the last scene, Tony states, “that is one good dog.” Gibbs retorts, “No that is one good marine.” In TGW, a client is killed and the shooting is caught on close circuit TV. Calinda solves the crime by seeing an orange ball throwing stick in the killer’s car on the video. She responds to the incredulous detective, (I paraphrase) ‘have you ever seen an angry pet owner?’
Each of these episodes had several plot twists and turns. In both, only one dramatic thread wove its way through all the extraneous information. The love of a pet by its owner/guardian, and the love the pet had for them. Pet relationships and their importance to their caregivers were the central theme in the characters lives and deaths.
In NCIS, the marine’s death was solved by the quick action of his bomb-sniffing dog. In TGW, it was discovered an irate pet owner killed their client. The client had sued the dog owner because his dog barked. Their client failed to realize what lengths his neighbor might go to, to keep his pet from harassment or possibly alternative placement.
As usual, this is Hollywood, ripping stories from the front pages of real life. Like Law and Order, which glean all its story lines from the NY Post, NCIS and TGW pulled these stories from events that have in fact occurred. We all know dogs help solve crimes. Their handlers trust these K-9 partners with their lives. Similarly, conflicts between neighbors about a barking dog can seem ridiculous. We laugh and shrug them off. Yet people have been killed or kill over animal conflicts.
I use these two mainstream programs to illustrate how widespread our passion for pets and lengths we will go to to care of our pet, negatively or positively. In the 21st Century we hold our pets in a completely new position in our lives. They are companions and family members. We need to be aware and respect this change. People need to find a way to address conflicts that may arise. They can start by being more respectful, and ‘people friendly’ to their pet friendly/non pet friendly adversaries.
Today, people tend to live a more isolated existence. For the most part, people go to work, commute alone, have family responsibilities and dynamics that drain them. They escape their drab life via the Internet. Sometimes, their only ‘human’ contact is ‘non-human’. That cat, dog, bird, turtle or fish they own may be all that provides them with one on one loving interaction they are missing in their day.
Take too the person who eschews a pet and yet is bombarded by the noise, smell or presence of a pet owned by their neighbor. They have chosen to live without an animal taking up their space. Yet due to someone else’s choice, their lives are now affected by unwanted noise, smell or presence.
The fact is 68 percent of family homes include a pet and that ownership has stimulated an otherwise lackluster economy by $52 billion dollars in 2012. If you are a pet owner you are protective of your pet. If you are a non-pet owner/lover you are often vilified. These two programs understood the new human/pet dynamic. They made it the thread that held all the story lines in the episode together. Brilliant. People will always watch good pet movies. Just look at the numbers for the recent movie Marley and Me. Even ‘Ole Yeller’ would draw an audience now.
I use these two programs and their use of animal story to keep viewer engaged to illustrate a point. Pets are more prevalent and important in our lives. As such, conflicts are arising, involving pets, we have never seen before. Recent press articles indicate people will kill one another over a pet. A 71-year-old man in Florida shot his upstairs neighbor for repeatedly allowing their dog to pee off the terrace onto him and his terrace. Now he is going to jail and the couples’ 5 children have no parents, home or the offending dog.
It is difficult to address pet issues as the pet owner or pet non-owner. Emotions run high and are worn on your sleeve. Mediation may be the best way to handle these conflicts. You can have a confidential discussion, with a third party neutral supporting your wants and needs, and work out a resolution on your own terms and in a way you want to resolve the problem. And yes, it usually ends short of murder as in TGW and more along the line of solving the problem in a way there is a happy ending of all as in NCIS.
Are you tired of putting up with cranky neighbors or being the cranky neighbor?
Look into having a 3rd party neutral help you take matters into your own hands, without the gun. Solve for the happiness quotient you all looking for. You and your pets will be glad you did
If I can help in any way please call me or write me