Pets During Wartime by Weston Ochse provides a tantalizing glimpse of a distant future where everything is simultaneously familiar and startling bizarre. While it tells a self-contained tale, it feels like an introduction to a larger story just waiting to be told. I sort of hope that’s the case, because I would love to experience more of this future America (and colonized solar system), where biological and technological evolution has created a plethora of both wonders and horrors, a version of our future of which Ochse paints a vague portrait.
As a lifelong dog lover, it’s strange to imagine a society where pets are not only outlawed, but considered deadly because of their water consumption. But this is precisely the version of Arizona we witness within this short tale. It’s a common sense, calculated bit of propaganda based on water rationing…but it’s no less depressing for the necessity of it all.