About 12 years ago, I helped move my friend K. and her cat from Santa Barbara to San Francisco. The car was crammed to the roof with her crap, and getting the cat carrier into the car was going to be a struggle. I lamented aloud that the poor kitty, tucked safely into his little caged home, would be stuck staring at dismantled furniture for six hours. My friend K. stared back at me plaintively and said nothing.
"Wait, you don't mean you want the cat wandering free in the car for six hours, do you?"
"Well, I want him to be able to look out the window while we drive because he loves that so much..."
After spending several driving hours dodging the dumb feline as it climbed onto my head, into my lap and underneath the brake pedal, I proposed to my friend that we play a game: Under What Circumstances Would You Eat Your Cat? It took some doing, but eventually I got her to play.
"Would you eat your cat if the world ended and you were the only two mammals left and you were starving and the survival of the planet depended on you staying alive long enough to recreate with a cactus or something?"
"No. I would never ever eat my cat."
"Would you eat your cat if you and he were stuck on a remote island and you made radio contact with a boat that said it would be there in three weeks, but you only had enough food to keep you alive for two more weeks?"
"No. I'd spend those three weeks looking for food on the island."
"Would you eat your cat if you, he, and your deceased sister's infant child were stuck on a remote island, and the baby cried night and day for food and the noise was slowly driving you insane, and the cat was dying of cancer anyway, albeit the kind of cancer that you can eat around, and eventually you saw a boat in the distance but in order to light a signal fire you needed some sort of fuel like, oh, say, animal fat?"
"Okay, fine, I'd eat my cat. You suck." The ride was a lot more enjoyable after that, at least until the cat got lost inside the car and my tearful friend spent an hour at a rest stop unpacking her car looking for him.
This is all a very convoluted way of saying that after being awoken at 5:45 a.m. this morning to take an hour-long walk in darkness, 4-below wind chill and a snow squall or two, I've begun to reconsider my previously firm stance that under no circumstances would I eat my dog.