So you just bought a spotted hyena cub from that sketchy kebab vendor on the corner of Fifth and Elm, near the laundromat. Huh — interesting choice! Perhaps you wanted to surprise your significant other and introduce an element of danger into an otherwise mind-numbing sex life, or maybe you’re looking to intimidate your way into passing that grad-level neurology class you accidentally enrolled in. Regardless, you’ve dedicated yourself to caring for this adorable and unsuspecting little predator. What could possibly go wrong?

Let me tell you.

Immediately after releasing your new roommate from its military-grade steel cage, you’ll want to give it some space while it becomes accustomed to roaming your home and establishing what objects it can and cannot eat. Don’t worry, your pain tolerance will soon reach a point where you’ll no longer feel the razor-sharp teeth nibbling on your ankles. Of course, you’ll also quickly find that the sausage you smuggle out of the dining hall won’t suffice to quench your hyena’s insatiable flesh-hunger, but don’t worry about that, either — the chicken coop at the educational farm was made to be raided at crucial times like these. No matter how much of a handle you think you’ve got on things, though, NEVER lower your guard; I once made the mistake of allowing mine to sleep with me, only to wake up the next morning with all the bones in my left hand perfectly intact but somehow inside-out.

On that topic, you might find yourself tempted to investigate those guttural laughing sounds coming from beneath your bed at night. An unsuspecting individual might even mistake them for a fun clown (albeit one with a cigarette issue). But for the love of everything you hold dear, don’t fall for this trap! Instead, learn to fear the dark, as I have. Approach even seemingly straightforward tasks with extreme caution. Urination, for instance, is no longer something you do in a toilet — it’s something you do on whatever food, clothing or furniture you want to retain dominion over.

So is it possible to train your hyena? Yes and no. Well, actually, I’m leaning toward no. But if you play your cards right, you might also gain a lifelong companion and retain enough fingers to write your own article about the experience.

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