The Human Pet Emporium [Short Sci-Fi Story]

Word had quickly spread of the humans’ aptitude for domesticating animals, and many of the sentient species of the galaxy were impressed and entertained by the idea. Working animals played a role in almost all developing planets, but no planet could hold a candle to the humans and their pets. From the tiniest fish up to the largest dog, whether you preferred sea creatures, mammals, reptiles, birds, or something more extraordinary, they had it.

So the new, gigantic Human Pet Emporium that had opened on Earth a week before was, everyone guessed, the first of many. But of course, many were excitedly arriving from other planets with little to no research on the animals. It had become apparent to humans that no matter where you were in the galaxy, no matter the culture, customers were usually the same.

“One of your dogs just bit my little boy! I thought dogs were supposed to be the perfect pet! Humans call them ‘man’s best friend’!” exclaimed the indignant female alien who had appeared in front of a startled employee.

Mary blinked and leaned slightly to her left, worriedly looking among customers but not spying a crying, bleeding alien child. “That’s scary, I’m sure. That’s why we put up signs to tell everyone not to stick their fingers in the cages.” She continued on before the woman could absorb the fact that she’d just told her it was her own fault. “Which dog was it? Where’s your boy?”

“Ar’kin,” she called, turning and walking to him. Mary noticed he was kneeling in front of a cage. The woman and her son were Cephalos, called such because they were humanoid with four legs and were similar in structure to octopuses. Of course, cephal was the Latin for ‘skull’, so it made no sense, but once humans found a nickname for an alien species, good luck changing it.

“Mom, it’s so fluffy!” he exclaimed.

Mary crouched next to him. “You okay? Your mom said a dog bit you.”

“Yeah, this one. It scared me,” he said, extending one of his tentacles in her direction and wiggling the two finger-like protrusions on the end, “but I’m fine.”

She’d figured as much. “Dogs like to play, and they play with everyone like they play with other dogs,” Mary explained. “And that’s often with their mouths and their paws, which have claws. We stock lots of toys for them to play with, to chase after, and to pull back and forth. Once you train a puppy into understanding body parts are not play toys, it’s fine. This one’s little, only {six months} old, so he hasn’t been taught that yet.”

She stuck her fingers into the cage of the puppy and wiggled them. At his age, the teeth weren’t quite needle-sharp anymore, but it still wasn’t that fun. But the cage holes were too small to stick her whole hand in for an attempt to reach the fluff instead.

“These are the animals that humans are said to love most, and they have to be taught not to bite the owner?” the woman cried.

Mary gave her a gentle smile as she stood. “It’s just playing, it isn’t trying to hurt you. It could hurt you,” she said, prompting the woman’s eyes to widen, “but they’re like any other animal. They won’t just hurt you for no reason. You’re someone who loves them; you’re not food. Some humans get dogs because they’re protective and will defend their home or the owner if attacked, and you can feel really safe when those teeth and claws are between you and someone who wants to hurt you. Also, to be fair, I could probably hurt someone if I bit them.”

A gurgling sound came from the little boy that translated through Mary’s earpiece as laughter, but the woman’s tall, tight stance showed she didn’t feel put at ease by the joke. “This is not what I was expecting,” she stated.

“You could get an older dog,” Mary suggested. “I’ve done that. A dog that’s five or six is easier because you quickly get to know their personality, they aren’t still growing up. And they are much more relaxed, since some can live to fifteen or older, but they’re typically halfway through their life.”

“Oh, that’s ridiculous!” the woman scoffed. “Why would I buy my boy a pet when it only has half of its life left?”

“I want a puppy!” the boy insisted. “Everyone says they love to play and I’ve watched so many videos on the net and they’re silly and cute!”

“Ar’kin, I really am not fond of having one of these in our home,” she stated, taking him by the arm and pulling him to his feet. “I managed to get past the urination and defecation problems some of them have, but having one that can hurt you is not okay. Come on. I’ve seen pictures of the ones humans call ‘cats’. They’re smaller and just as fluffy, and the pictures and videos show them laying in the sun and batting their little paws at feathers.”

Republished with permission from the author, karenvideoeditor. Image created using Stable Diffusion.

-Today’s Epic Daily Deals and Gift Ideas: Save BIG on Native 1080P Projector, SAMSUNG Galaxy Buds 2, Fitbit Fitness Trackers, Otamatone Japanese Instrument, Canon Cameras and Lens Kits, and SO MUCH MORE!
-Geeky T-Shirt Sale: 1000s of TEES at Just $15 Each!

Geeks are Sexy needs YOUR help. Learn more about how YOU can support us here.