In search of ponies: Bin full of not-so-useful pet gadgets

Sharna Johnson

There’s a plastic bin on the shelf over my washer and dryer that mocks me like some kind of impulse cemetery.

Inside the bin is a mess of “What was I thinking?” pet accessories.

A couple weeks ago I was hunting for the shock collar for a dog vs. horse issue and was forced to pull the bin off the shelf.

“Cool! Can I have that?” one of the kids said, snatching a black light bulb — bought for a lizard — before the bin made it all the way from the shelf to the top of the dryer.

“What the heck is this?” another kid asked, reaching around me to pull a plastic wand device out of the mass.

Ah yes … the rotary manicure tool for pets.

Yeah, I remember what I was thinking — No more torn up furniture, confetti in the bathroom when they discover you have put up a new “spinny-toy” for them next to the toilet, or rushing to save the old cat when he got stuck on the carpet because they just didn’t retract like they used to …

Just stick your pet’s claw in the hole and walla — The nail is filed away, painlessly and easily.

It would have been great — if they didn’t have claws to begin with.

Turns out the cats didn’t want the recommended “positive reinforcement” treat that was supposed to make them not be afraid and once the motor on the contraption started, I may as well have been coming at them with a rusty chain saw.

I did manage to grind a little off one claw, but the longer I worked at it, the more wiggling and the deeper the other three sets of claws sank into my leg.

And I gave up, suddenly and empathetically reminded of the time — in true pragmatic girl fashion — I got the bright idea to buff my unkempt nails with my Dremel Tool.

I mean why not, it comes with all those little buff pads for shining stuff up, right?

OUCH! Talk about a quick lesson in the fact motorized friction on a finger nail equals heat — Lots of heat.

And I have to assume the cat’s experience was similar because if they even saw the $20 miracle tool, much less heard it, they went incognito at light speed.

Deeper in the bin we found the magical hair remover sponge, which I stopped using because after only a couple passes it’s covered in hair and has to be washed, putting it out of commission until it dries hours later.

At least that $5 device led me to the discovery an old rubber sole tennis shoe over your hand and rubbed across the furniture gathers more pet hair than anything else you can do.

Oh and there was the bag of oh-so-healthy vitamin enriched training treats named after some eastern harmonic philosophy — I think the dogs still laugh when they see the little green nuggets, or at least I assume they do since I can’t see their faces when they are walking away.

And the $25 brushes with retractable bristles for easy cleaning … only the pets hate the brush because it scratches them too hard and the little pad of hair that’s left behind is so statically charged, it floats and sticks wherever it wants.

It’s a good thing the bin is only so big, because otherwise it might contain the automatic litter box that was supposed to make life so easy — and did, kind of — until it stopped working a month later, and the automatic water bowl that cracked and leaked in the cold …

The one thing I didn’t find in the bin was the shock collar, so back on the shelf it went. But a few days later I was reminded of it again while flipping channels.

“Have the perfect dog in just 10 minutes,” the ad said, showing well behaved pooches strutting around wearing a magic, fix everything collar.

I’ll admit, I was curious, but did a little research online, reading enough to kill the impulse.

In all reality, I think my problems might be solved if pets were just hairless with no legs — kind of like snakes.

Oh yeah, there’s a bin in the garage full of light bulbs, faux jungle leaves and hide-boxes as testament that I can scratch that idea.