With the R-word in full-on over-usage across the US, the news media is grasping for any kind of story to prove that we’re really truly, honest-to-God suffering. With this American penchant for black news to back up our basest fears, some outlets are using pets to illustrate the economy at its worst.

If last year was all about low quality pet food ingredients this year it’s foreclosure abandonment. This, along with news of pet food expenses driving pets into the streets to join the teeming minions in our overcrowded shelters, means the stories aren’t pretty.

It’s gotten so that even The Wall Street Journal and American Public Media's Marketplace report on these stories with the same cheekiness they handle the so-called lipstick-indicator and hemlines—as if pets are on the same level as our feminine household frivolities.

Meanwhile, Leona Helmsley’s post-mortem bank account shows an $8 Billion credit in the line item titled, “Fluffy.” Hopefully this unbelievable chunk will end up in some well-managed shelter system’s coffers. Can you see HSUS’s Wayne Pacelle peeing himself to get ahold of it? I can.