PETS, WHAT A CONCEPT. LAST SUMMER MY DOG CHEATED DEATH AND WOUNDED my bank account three times. First, she got
heartworms, despite heartworm pills. The vet’s bill: about $300. Then she got fleas, not normally fatal unless you
use Hartz, Blockade spray, which sent Domino, a 60-pound black Lab mix, into convulsions requiring atropine
injections and round-the-clock care. “The stuff works, ” said my vet, pocketing another $70. “If your dog’s dead,
she won’t get fleas. ” Then she was stolen. The dognapping didn’t cost money, but ate up three days of checking the
pound, making posters, hammering them onto utility poles, arguing with people who said I couldn’t do that, and
searching for the dog morning and evening, usually accompanied by my daughter from Colorado (owner of three dogs,
three cats, two gerbils, one rabbit, 157 stuffed teddies), who never actually said, “Dad, you were supposed
to take care of Domino, ” but certainly was entitled to the thought. We were reunited with the canine in question
thanks to a young woman who’d found her wandering miles from my house, her metal tags cut off and the pads of her
feet worn to nubs-she’d probably been dragged by the thieves before escaping. I assume it was thieves: Who else
would steal a mutt-the SPCA? As soon as Domino saw us, she leaped 200 feet into the air, executed a triple James
Brown spin, and went into Elayne Boosler’s stand-up routine on single-minded doggie devotion: “You’re back, you’re
back, you’re back, you’re back, you’re back, you’re back, you’re back… ” To every dog a happy ending. But what
about us owners? Would it not be wiser, I thought, to be like Ken, a 27-year-old Tracy-Locke art director I met
recently at The Animal Kingdom, a trendy pet shop at the corner of Mockingbird and Greenville. He was asking for a
dozen crickets. There’s a nifty choice of pet, I said, smirking. You couldn’t spend $500 on a cricket if you dipped
it in plutonium.
But I was wrong. The crickets weren’t pets, they were food.
“These’ll last about a month, ” Ken explained. “It sort of stalks them. ” He meant his real pet, a tarantula he
inherited from a former boss and would someday pass along according to “office tradition. ” I admired the
professional symbolism, but I also could see why a big, hairy, poisonous arachnid in a glass cage full of doomed
ex-oskeletals was the perfect pet for the new urban ark. It is exactly what my dog is not. Low maintenance, easily
kenneled, non-demanding, utterly indifferent to the existence of its owners.
The urban ark-the domestic zoo we cohabitate with our animals-ain’t what it used to be. As we’ve gotten smaller,
moved into apartments, condos, reduced the scope of our lives in favor of largely pointless employment and endless
mortage payments, we’ve also altered our choices in pets. Now, there arc two decks on the ark. One is for the
“traditionals”-about 117 million dogs and cats-and another is for the “exotics, ” an industry term which means
anything else, of which there are far more than there used to be.
I’m not sure if we are what, or perhaps where, we eat, but I’m certain we are what we pet. Nothing so defines you as
the type of creature you own and how you treat it-or whether you don”t own one at all, maybe have some kind of plant
fetish instead. Think of all your friends, compare them to the pets they keep, and tell me I lie. Generalizations by
gender and age are even possible. Men, mostly, go for dogs, while women, mostly, prefer cats, Teenage boys like
snakes and spiders. Old people go for those stupid little big-eyed dogs that look like babies with fur. Yes, there
are legions of exceptions, but if you’re dating or thinking about spending time with relatives, go with the house
Not that human-to-pet behavior directly correlates-it might be inverse. Would you suspect the tightly wound Japanese
of being even more neurotic about dogs than we are? One of the most famous statues in Tokyo is that of a loyal
canine that gave its life for its master, and Japan is filled with more doggie boutiques than North Dallas has
peroxide. They even teach pet meditation. But it makes sense. Given all the other stresses atop the apogee of the
Pacific Rim, what could be a better escape than pampering your pet? Given that nobody’s going to pamper you.
So this is the main thing about pets today: us. We’re an unhappy lot, aren’t we? A virtual Kamasutra of
mutual inhumanity. Naturally, people who can’t get no satisfaction with each other are just going to have to find it
with other species. Coming home each day and having something-dog, cat, turtle, or ferret-that gives you whatever
you want and asks nothing in return but a dry place to sleep, decent grub, and a waste disposal area it can call its
own isn’t everything; for a lot of us, it’s the only thing.
We no longer own pets; we require them. Nothing else explains what is happening out there in the pet shops, the vet
clinics, the cat shows, the grooming salons, the decorator kennels, and most of all, in our own lairs.
PETS REALLY STARTED BECOM-ing us about 1985, I suppose, the watershed year when-and who knows how they figure this-
public opinion polls showed cats overtaking dogs as the number one domestic animal in America. You can see where it
went from there: iguanas, geckos, groupers, I don’t want to imply a bias against cats, which, at least, are real
pets and good company, despite extraordinarily poor taste in canned comestibles. It’s the regression the cat trend
implies, the Pandora’s box it brings aboard the ark. Cats are fine. Dogs, too. But I do feel there is something
fundamentally different about people who keep mice or scorpions in their homes, on purpose.
Which is probably the point. Everyone I know who’s dabbled with un-pets is “different. ” Frank, now a political
consultant in his mid-40s, was one of the pioneers of the exotic pet movement. Fifteen years ago, when gerbils were
still pretty far out, he was amazing his friends with “Whaleka, the Killer Newt, ” prominently displayed inside a
goldfish bowl full of rocks and, as I recall, crickets. Later, he tried to have Tila, his Doberman, freeze-dried
(which you can do), until his third wife threatened to leave him.
Okay, there’s a practical rationale for switching to exotics: downsizing for city dwelling. So how do you explain
the Vietnamese pot-bellied pig? Introduced in the U. S. in the mid-Eighties, probably by deep-penetrating Viet Cong
moles (spies, not pets), the diminutive porker-I refuse to call any pig “cute”-mocked any notion that a pet aboard
the new urban ark must settle for being merely compact or “different. “
It had to be perverse, decadent, and insanely priced-about $2, 000 per belly (more for fecund females). But even
pigs are subject to the Warholian Famous-for-15-Minutes Rule. Pot-bellies, now marked down to as little as $500,
have lost cachet-and for a pig that’s particularly ominous. The hottest new exotic is the “fainting goat. ”
Long-haired, smaller than its cloven-hoofed cousins, it’s been bred to flaunt a unique quirk. When startled, it
falls over in a stiff, straight-legged swoon.
Normally, fainting as an alternative to the fight-or-flight reflex wouldn’t be considered an evolutionary advance,
but, hey, in a world in which bombs are smart and Frank loves Nancy, what the hell. Fainting makes a goat worth at
least $400-a price that’s about as effective a defense against predators and cabrito recipes as ever Mother Nature
Perhaps next on the curve, though, is the short-legged cat. Guess what they’re called? Munchkins. Supposedly a
spontaneous mutation from England in the Thirties, they disappeared only to turn up in the U. S. S. R. in the
Forties (actually a really bad place to be in the Forties), and now they’ve shown up in Louisiana. Go figure. Their
little legs are really little. Although both front and rear have been foreshortened, the front ones seem more
so. A charitable aesthetic would say they always look like they’re running downhill. The harsh view is that they
could sell pencils in a tin cup.
To be fair, not all exotics are off the meter. Fish and fowl-the fastest selling alternative pets-have always been
among us, often on the dinner table, but also in gilded cages and tinted aquaria. To some enthusiasts, the two
species are far more copacetic to humans than are more closely related mammals.
“Bird people are much more emotional than other pet owners, ” says veterinarian John Carver, whose Amazon parrot
sings “The Eyes of Texas” and is among the favorite of the critters in his home menagerie. “It’s much more possible
to become involved with birds. It can be a very rewarding kind of relationship. “
Rewarding to the pet shops, too. Outside of big cats, which die in captivity so often it should be against the law
to own them, but isn’t if you have a license, birds can be the most high-priced of all exotics. A rose-breasted
cockatoo goes for up to $2, 200. An African gray parrot, like John’s, retails for about $1, 000; a blue and gold
macaw- $1, 600. On the other hand, birds are cost-efficient. A macaw may live to age 75, and that ain’t dog years.
In fact, the longevity of the species often puts them in probate. Dear Bob: Your Aunt Phoebe died. Your sister gets
the Mercedes. You’Il be needing some crackers.
Fish aren’t really touted as buddies, but those who spend hundreds or thousands of dollars for tanks, fish, snails,
sand, air pumps, and those funny ceramic houses and castles you are required by federal law to put into the bottom
of your tank, as if the fish care, say they get payback in serenity of observation.
I can dig it. Meditating in front of a multithousand-dollar display of flowerlike fish stacked like a coral reef in
a huge tank at Jerry’s Perfect Pets (22, 000 fish in stock, including 6, 000 goldfish) did bliss me out. But then a
little New Age voice said: “Man, it’s really a negative ion thing-being around all that water counteracts the
electron overload in your biofeedback environment, same effect as a cascading fountain in a shopping mall which you
probably always thought was to pitch pennies into. “
But another voice said: “Yo, check out that purple and green pterodactyl bobbing up and down in the guppie tank. “
Love at first sight. No ordinary purple and green pterodactyl, it was “Action Starbird: The Sea and Air Attack Ship,
” a transformer-warrior toy bird, like something you’d see in a Star Wars movie. Its wings spread open and
shut as it shunted from the surface to the depths of the tank, as though it were landing and taking off from alien
undersea battlegrounds. I figured I could put it in a big Sun Tea jar and get the same effect.
Who needed fish? After all my searching, I’d stumbled upon the ideal pet! I would call it Verisimilitude, Vera for
short. I’d have the Nineties under glass, at my command, and never have to take it for a walk. It would be agile,
responsive, and without the stigma attached to inflatable dolls. 1 plunked down $12. 99 and rushed home. That’s when
1 realized Verisimilitude wouldn’t flap and float unless it was connected to an air hose, which in turn should be
connected to an air compressor. That’s also when I understood how pet stores make their money.
A hamster, for example, costs about $5. A damned good hamster. But the cage, etc., known as the “set-up, ”
will come to another $150. A tarantula might run $60, but you need the right kind of expensive case to keep it in,
since the point is to show it off. A praying mantis is $20, not counting all those prospective husbands. Even
wide-mouth frogs at $32, geckos at $20, or iguanas, $89, take lots of equipment, overpriced food, and replacement
from time to time.
By the time you get to the more expensive exotics-African spur thigh tortoises, $300; skinks, $250; king snakes,
$250; and the fancy birds and pigs-you’re looking at major capital outlay, plus continuing operational outflow. But
it would be missing the point to see this as an investment.
Vets and pet store managers estimate that at least half, and maybe up to 90 percent, of exotic pet owners are in it
for the same reason they’re into most everything else in their misspent-and I use the term deliberately-lives:
conspicuous consumption. Let me be candid. These people are basically showoffs. Driven by torment and insecurities,
their purchases of perverse and baroque quagmires of biology are really pathetic cries for attention. Which they
deny, saying things like. “Exotics are the pets of the Nineties. ” Sad, isn’t it?
But I forgive them. Deep down, exoticites are drawn to pets for the same kinds of emotional reasons as was the kid
in Old Yeller. They just express their caring in different ways-as, say, John Hinckley Jr. did for Jodie
Foster. I admit, we’re all a little neurotic about our pets-dog and cat owners are famous co-dependents. But think
about it: How can you bond with a Norwegian rat? And if you could, what makes you think other people want to know?
ON THE OTHER HAND, NORMAL is a relative term. “It’s what you make it, ” says Dr. Janine Mcln-nis, one of Dallas’s
few veterinary animal behaviorists-a pet shrink. “Some people think if you have too close a relationship with your
pet you can go too far. Other people say that’s what a pet is for. “
Like most other vets, she’s reluctant to draw the line on abnormal behavior. Is dressing up a parrot in baby
clothes, spending tens of thousands of dollars on pet burials, leaving money to a house full of cats, or sleeping
with your pig neurotic? Is a book entitled What Sign Is Your Pet? over the edge? Or do the questions shrink
to mean-inglessness compared to someone who even owns a pit bull?
They shrink, I think. Ditto from Jim Brooks, owner of Bark and Purr Retreat, “the ultimate in canine and feline
hospitality, ” a. k. a. a boarding kennel in Southlake that can safely be said to test the limits of pet pampering.
Out front, it looks like most kennels-a building to one side filled with big ol’ dogs lazing around amid their
concrete and chain link partitions, not unlike office workers in their half-wall cubicles. But then there’s the
other building, It’s not like most kennels at all.
Brooks says he got the notion to do what he did because he wanted to “brighten the place up” after taking over as
owner 17 years ago. Then it sort of got out of hand, and before he knew it he had created what is probably the only
theme park bone and breakfast in town.
Pets, figures Brooks, have different personalities, and so they might be happier with a choice of ambience. He came
up with several, assigning motifs to each of the seven rooms (six dogs, one cat) throughout the building, actually a
converted house. In each room, a dozen or so dogs bide their time in floor cages filled with blankets, pillows, and
anything else their absent owner decrees: for example, a photo of the master, or maybe a tape recording. Only small
and medium-sized canines are allowed-the big breeds would be too rambunctious, and big dogs don’t go for that kind
of froufrou anyway-but those who make the cut are taken out for walks three times a day and tucked in each evening,
on fresh sheets changed daily, a small nighty-night cookie on their pillows.
The rooms are segregated by sex, age, and health. The Victorian Room (“girls only-most of them are in ’season’”} is
fitted out with 19th century paintings, a dressing bureau, a love seat, and. as are all the rooms, a TV (“it’s
soothing for them”). The European Room, for the elderly and infirm, is tres Jamesian, all antiques and lace
curtains. It gets rowdier in the Country Western Room (“boys only”), the walls lined with Old West prints and even a
set of cow horns, but. because this is a classy place, no velvet paintings of dogs playing poker. The Circus Room,
for puppies, does have a velvet painting of a clown, but puppies like that kind of stuff. The New England Room,
coed, features austere Yankee farm paintings and wicker chairs. The Art Deco Room, my personal favorite, is so
aesthetically aloof I can’t even remember what’s in it, which I believe is the preferred critical response.
But the cats have the real deal, as cats are wont to do. It’s called The Pussycat Penthouse, a feline Valhalla of
thick carpet, scratching posts, perches, and wicker furniture, with background music by Bach. Unlike the dogs, who
mostly stay in their plushed-out pads, the kilties get free-roaming privileges, as long as they don’t hassle each
other. On a scale of one to nine lives, the penthouse is a 10. And for a penthouse it’s not that expensive-$7. 50 a
day, $3 less than for dogs.
Brooks’s office and bedroom-he often spends the night if business is brisk-are right across the hall, as is a
“visitor’s center” where owners who are boarding their pets, or “kids, “’ as Brooks tends to call them, can come for
private and cozy chats.
“It’s a lot like a day care center, ” he says. “It gets pretty emotional sometimes. It’s traumatic for the pets, the
way it is for kids who go away to camp. And for the owners, too. We’ve had people leave their dog, drive away, and
come back and pick it up because they couldn’t stand to be apart. “
Often, owners leave detailed instructions about taking care of their kids, or what room they want-one customer has a
standing reservation for the “European Room, comer cage. ” The doting mistress of Xavier, a little Maltese, left
Brooks an eight-page, handwritten note, including what programs Xavier liked to watch on TV, what to say when he
wasn’t nice (“Bad dog”), and when he should retire each evening (“He likes for the lights to be turned off at 9 or
10 p. m. “).
Brooks doesn’t mind. Following each stay, he sends out a thank-you note-addressed to the pet. FACT IS, NOTHING IS
TOO GOOD FOR PETS. GOURMET BRANDS are selling at double the rate of ordinary fare in the $8 billion U. S. pet food
market. Pet stores have evolved into boutiques, and vet clinics have evolved into pet stores, each more or less
doing what the other used to. Pet stores counsel you about pet treatment, and vets sell you upscale chow like
Science Diet and Iams.
“I always said I’d never get into that, ” shrugs Jim Miller, who took a three-year vacation from his Farmers Branch
veterinary practice to sail around the Caribbean, only to return to a brave new reality. “Now I’m doing it just like
everybody else. ” Now, also, he treats more exotics-about 12 percent of his practice.
It’s a dog-eat-cat world out there. Competition for petdollars, not to be confused with petrodollars, is more
intense than an Abyssinian feline in heat. Your dog or cat now needs things, from collars to vitamin supplements to
designer cages, known as crates, that you scarcely realized even existed. And you’ll buy them. “More and more,
people are treating their pets like members of the family, ” says the authoritative Supermarket Business News.
That’s because pets are members of the family.
Even the discount chains have figured out how to get to your wallet via anthropomorphism. I never traded at
Petsmart, for example, until my daughter insisted, to my total disbelief, that we could take Domino in on a leash
while we perused the aisles. It’s true, you can. Now, that’s the only place I buy dog food and frisbees, not just
because they’re cheaper, assuming you buy in half-ton lots, but because now it’s a shopping experience. Me. Jenny,
and Domino, at one with commerce.
Pets even have specialists these days. Cardiologists, dermatologists, ophthalmologists, radiologists, internists,
surgeons, dentists. Unlike their human equivalents, vet specialists don’t charge an arm and a leg, but just going to
see one means you’ve made a decision to jump in with all four paws. So even though specialists allow us to keep our
furry, scaly, or feathered loved ones alive longer, we pay the price. But whaddya gonna do? If our pets are
extensions of ourselves, as some psychologists think, letting them die just to save money means we think there is a
price on life. And we all know that’s not true.
AT PET MEMORIAL PARK. TWO ACRES OF THE ULTIMATE ACT OF devotion, the souls of approximately 5, 000 former dogs,
cats, horses, hamsters, rabbits, turtles, monkeys, and kindred spirits. even snakes, lie serenely amid green,
freshly mown grounds surrounded by silent, faithful trees. It’s a good place to get a little perspective.
Strolling past the marble and granite headstones and the neat rows of the deceased, you’d think you were in a human
the graves are so, well, short. It’s the oldest pet resting place in the Southwest (circa 1955) and perhaps the
finest. Families from all over the country have been bidding final adieus here, just off Highway 67 south at Cedar
Hill, for decades. One row of freshly spaded earth belongs to the pets of a single owner, who opted for a prepaid
plan to obtain side-by-side arrangements.
The epitaphs soften the hardest heart.
“My Pumpkin, ” says one inscription, “a little dog whose love, loyalty, and faithful companionship will never be
Another, to Susie: “I loved you all of your 14 years, and I miss you now. “
Little Butch, a mutt, has “Gone Walking. ” Smilie McGhee, a Great Dane, was someone’s “truest friend. “
To Sandy, a Pekingese: “To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die. ” Her owner drives in from Longview to pay
Ginger is forever guarded by a statue of the Virgin Mary. Elsewhere in the cemetery are angels, saints, or
likenesses of animals. And flowers, and vases, and wreaths.
And the names: Bunny, Brandy, Rags, Killer. Even couples, united in eternity: Fluffie & Buffie; Mr. Enoch & Suzy
In one section, the oldest, and most expensive, lie the late Dalmatians of an old Park Cities family, each spotted
hound buried in a human casket, each marked with a flat granite nameplate big enough to sleep on. Their names sound
like mountain ranges: Precious Hill, Luscious Hill, Duchess of Bordeaux Hill-never to be tormented by Cruella De
Mahala Bivins, who runs the cemetery with her husband Jack, has seen a lot of grief in these hallowed acres, more
than you’d think, unless you ever lost a pet yourself. She has kind of a theory about why people want to go to so
much trouble and expense to bury their animal dead.
“Some of the most touching of times are with the elderly, ” she says. “This pet was their last living link to a lost
spouse. Sometimes they grieve more for the pet because they can open up. Grieving for the pet is really grieving for
their lost spouse. “
I mentioned that to a friend whose cat had recently died after licking antifreeze from under a car. I described,
perhaps flippantly, the pomp and fuss attendant on the loss of a simple animal. She was silent a moment. “Well, ”
she said, “I’ve got a picture of Louie here in my office. “
It’s an epidemic: softies and neurotics stem to stern.
But damn, nothing better happen to Domino. Jenny and I saved her from the clutches of the pound four years ago, just
before Jenny and her mom moved out West. I’ve threatened to give the mutt away a zillion times and even wondered if
there is any market for dogskin rugs, and if she terrifies one more mailman she’s history.
But not really.
THE PETS’ PICASSO
You can immortalize your dog by having his portrait done by the same artiste who captured Victor Costa’s pooch.
Kerrin Winter can be reached through Collector’s Covey in Highland Park Village (630-4981) where her works are now
WATCH OUT FOR...
Dogs: Heartworms and heart murmur. The former can be prevented through regular medication, and
sometimes, but not always, cured after onset. The latter is the primary killer of older dogs,
but can be successfully treated.
Cats: Feline leukemia strikes one in 10 and is always fatal (if not always from the virus, then from
associated complications). Most vets suggest a series of feline leukemia vaccinations to
immunize your cat.
Dogs and cats. Cars, trucks. motorcycles. Keep your pel out of the street.
VETS FOR PETS
Nobody on staff is a vet, so we can’t recommend any, out the Dallas County Veterinary Medical Association
(339-8756) can help you find the kind of vet you need for your neighborhood, your choice of pet, and your own
treatment needs, whatever those needs may be. That includes everything from pel behaviorists to pet dentists.
Neutering: Call the SPCA (651-9611) or choose from several services listed in the phone book. Best of all, ask
Specialists: Animal Referral Clinic, 2353 Royal Lane at I-35, 484-5598.
Cardiology, dermatology, and other services, usually based on referral by your vet.
Emergencies: Emergency Animal Clinic, 13031 Coit, near the corner of LB. J and Coit, 661-2112, is recommended by
some vets. Others are listed in the Yellow Pages.
The Animal Kingdom, 5706 E. Mockingbird, 826-PETS. Specializes in exotics, especially
Jerry’s Perfect Pets, Prestonwood Town Center, 223-9588. Wide selection. Specializes in fish. Bark
and Purr, 6336B Greenville Ave., 361-7566. Pet shop specializing in grooming. Canine
Commissary. 11504 Garland Road, 324-3900. Wide selection of books and grooming equipment. Good
listings of trainers and other pet services. Great Pets!, 6721 Preston Road, 520-7387. Wide
selection. Animals get to roam the floor. Perky Poodle Salon, Turtle Creek Village,
526-3243. Good groomer. Rockwall Feed Store, Highway 66, east of Rockwall, 722-6926. Old-fashioned
feed store now sells ecotics and pet supplies, also horse tack and farm supplies. Petsmart, 4005 W.
Airport Freeway, Irving, 255-0027. Good for Buying in bulk, and you can take vour pet inside if
No Bad Dogs, Barbara Woodhouse. The classic from the late, great British animal trainer. How To Be Your Dog’s
Best Friend, the Monks of New Skete, Advice from God’s own obedience school. The Body Language and Emotion of
Cats, Myrna Milani. Slightly-over-the-top book: Everything you suspected about cats and women, or dogs and men,
but were afraid to ask.
If your puppy is going to be over 40 pounds as an adult, obedience training is a must. Your friends and neighbors
will thank you.
ROOMS WITH A MEW
Many vets offer boarding service. But for the imaginative, try Bark and Purr Retreat, 1211 Brumlow Road,
Southlake, (817) 481-4426. Also recommended: Willow Run Kennel, Desoto, 223-1100; Firewheel Kennel, Murphy,
Pet Memorial Park, Highway 67 south at Mt. Lebanon exit, Cedar Hilt, 223-2273. Known as the oldest park in the
Southwest. Also recommended: Dallas Pel Cemetery and Crematory. 1814 Ten Mile Road, 521-6980.
Hartz Blockade. Taken off the market once, it was rereleased last year but some vets report
continuing problems because of the high toxic dosage. Use with extreme caution. The same goes
for all commercial flea sprays and collars. Many pet stores now carry a variety of flea and
tick repellents based on natural ingredients. Brewers yeast, for exmple, can be added to pet
food to inhibit fleas.
Diatomaceous earth, sprinkled in your yard, effectively destroys fleas without using toxins. As my
own vet says, -Whatever you put on your pet winds up in vour pet. “
Retractable leashes. Allows your pet to go at its own pace on walks, from 10 to 50 feet. Chewproof gelatin-based
frisbees. Easier on your doe’s gums and mouth than the easily destroyed plastic versions. But they don’t float.
Crates. The “in” training method. Your dog learns necessary home etiquette through temporary confinement to a
Better Way and Scoop Away cat litter. Expensive, but worth it. Finely ground, daylike litter that attaches to the
cat’s waste, forming easy-to-remove clumps. No need to empty out the whole litter pan. One bag lasts an entire
Flea combs. Special combs that nab fleas as you groom your pet. A nifty invention.
Yes, it is available. The largest company is Veterinary Pet Insurance, Anaheim, Calif. Ask your insurance broker.