Over the course of the season, I found myself in more conversations with players about their pets than I could reasonably have expected, but somehow it never seemed to fully cohere into a complete post for the blog. There was always something more important going on.
Well, it’s the offseason now, and there’s not very much going on at all, so now it coheres just fine, thanks.
Most of the guys have dogs, which you’d probably expect. What you might not expect is that the dog owners break down into two general categories, neither of whom gets too excited about discussing their dogs: you’ve got the people with big dogs, who are afraid of being lumped in with Michael Vick, and you’ve got the people with little dogs, who blame the dogs largely on their wives or girlfriends.
Rock Cartwright falls pretty squarely into the second category, with a toy poodle named Tyke (“He’s actually a great dog,” Cartwright says, when I look surprised. “He’s not hyper at all, and he likes to cuddle all the time.”)
Khary Campbell and his wife have a three pound Yorkie. Anthony Montgomery splits the difference — he has a pit bull and his girlfriend has a five pound Yorkie.
“The Yorkie is the aggressive one, believe it or not,” Montgomery says. “The Yorkie is jealous and possessive. If me and my girlfriend are rubbing the pit bull the Yorkie goes crazy. He attacks the pit bull, biting him.”
So they don’t get along? “Oh, no, they play all the time. And if we’re outside and they run up on some dogs, he tries protect the pit bull.”What the players don’t have, mostly, is cats. I asked H.B. Blades (a pit bull guy) if anyone on the team had cats and he just about shuddered. “I hope not. I hate cats, man.”
Cartwright agrees. “I don’t like cats,” he says, “They’re too sneaky. I don’t fool with them.”
Fred Smoot takes it a bit further. “Cats and babydolls are totally for women,” he says, in a tone that invites little argument. But what if, say, your girlfriend had a cat and you get stuck with it when she leaves? “You gotta throw it out somewhere else,” he says.
It’s Casey Rabach who takes the anti-cat sentiment the furthest, though. “I used to hunt cats when I was a kid,” he says. “You could hunt feral cats in Wisconsin.”
You’re totally making that up, aren’t you? “No! I swear to god, you can hunt feral cats.”
Even house cats that have gone feral? “If they’re feral, you can hunt them,” Rabach says. “I had a lot of time on my hands.”
Chris Cooley is the proud exception to the no-cats rule. “One cat is an inside cat, always in your lap,” Cooley says, “and the other one is an outdoor murder machine. We just started letting her out, and now we always have dead stuff everywhere. It sucks because the little dogs roll in it.” (“It’s Chris,” says Rabach. “He doesn’t fit the typical mold.” Cooley also has two yorkies and a Great Dane named George.)
How did you wind up with cats? Are they your wife’s or something? “They’re our cats. They’re mine,” he says. “We bought two little kittens together. I’ve always had a cat.”
I think you’re the only guy in the locker room who would own up to having a cat. “I like them. The only thing that I dislike about the cats is if they’re anywhere around where we’re sleeping, the one yorkie growls and barks at us. It will growl all night so they can’t really be in the room.”
And a cat isn’t the strangest pet Cooley’s had. “When I was growing up, we had pet raccoons,” he says. There are no other raccoon owners in the Redskins locker room, at least not that I can find.
Tags: Anthony Montgomery, AnthonyMontgomery, Casey Rabach, CaseyRabach, Chris Cooley, ChrisCooley, Fred Smoot, FredSmoot, Khary Campbell, KharyCampbell, Offseason, Rock Cartwright, RockCartwright
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