My colleague Marilyn Sewell writes about an Oregonian who is is being hassled by the city of Portland because he keeps three alligators for pets. (link) And while I have no reason to quibble with the thought that dangerous animals should not be permitted in residential areas where they might hurt someone (in which category I place pit bulls) I take firm exception to her egregious dissing of reptiles.
Our late iguana IxChel couldn't roll over and, unlike many iguanas, didn't like to go out of the house for walks. But she seemed to know her name, definitely recognized her family, (and had us well trained) came out of her cage and begged for bread crusts at dinner time (by politely scratching my leg,) and appreciated the warmth of a human chest and shoulder on a chilly day. None of those things quite qualify as emotions on her part, but they definitely did elicit feelings on our part. Her back yard burial was the saddest I've been in a long time. There is no doubt that she was connected to us, and we to her, and that is love.
So maybe alligators, like pit bulls, are too dangerous to have in residential neighborhoods. But that doesn't mean that Mr. Brown doesn't love Chomper, Hisser, and Snapper, and that they may not, in their dim reptilian brains, love him too.