Am I alone in thinking that there are lots of things no one ever tells you about pet ownership when you first bring home that adorable ball of fur? Questions that you never imagine you’d really have to consider? And the problem grows exponentially with every new animal you bring in the house.
You see, for those of you keeping score, my husband Opie and I have 4 pets…2 dogs, a cat, and a bird. They are:
Peek-A-Boo: My “first born.” A spoiled rotten, long-haired Chihuahua who is convinced that we got the other animals just for him since he is sure that he’s not a dog at all but a grumpy old man in a fur suit.
Bubba: A half-Rottweiler, half-Beagle who is so happy to have been rescued from the shelter that he spends most of his day showering us with attention so we never take him back…which, unfortunately, has manifested lately in him following me around the house and flinging himself on my feet if I stay in one place for longer than ten seconds at a time.
Prince: A Sphnyx cat—completely hairless—who has been called a “rat” so often that he has decided to become a dog and tries to exhibit dominance over the other dogs by smacking them in the head and running away.
Dolly: The tiny finch who I inherited from my Grandma when she couldn’t take care of her anymore who has probably developed a complex since Prince thinks she looks tastier every time he sees her.
In any case, last weekend Opie and I went to visit my family in Illinois. We got our usual pet sitter for the weekend but since Peek-A-Boo has been having health issues, we decided to take him with us—largely to spare the pet sitter from my hourly phone calls and demands for updates. It seemed like the best plan for everyone concerned…except when we got back to Oklahoma, Prince and Bubba decided that we must have taken Peek showed because we loved him best. It was imperative, they concluded, for them to step up their game, so to speak, and buy our affections with a series of gifts.
The problem is, these animals don’t have jobs. Which means they have no money. Which further means that their supply of appropriate gifts is pretty low.
But ever the resourceful Rottweiler, Bubba searched the yard and decided to give us one of his favorite things:
A dead mole that he thoughtfully eviscerated and then left on the back porch so we could see it first thing.
Note: Dead moles make TERRIBLE gifts.
Not to be outdone, Prince spent the next few hours on his own gift quest…as a strictly inside cat, his options were slightly more limited. Luckily, a cricket had somehow gotten in the house so he was able to kill it, swat it back and forth with Bubba for a minute or two, then wing it at my feet as hard as he could.
Note: While not quite as bad as dead, disemboweled moles, dead crickets ALSO make TERRIBLE gifts.
As a last resort, Prince and Bubba put their heads together this morning and came up with a whole new plan…as I was getting ready for work, I heard the two of them shuffling around, making weird noises and I thought I should probably go see what was going on…but then Prince dashed up to the bathroom door, batting something around while Bubba followed along behind him.
Then Prince stopped and shot something at my legs with the accuracy of Wayne Gretsky on a breakaway.
Something that ended up being not a dead cricket but a live cricket roughly the size of a human head.
(Side note here: Please don’t think we live in a huge, cricket-infested hovel; Tulsa is experiencing a cricket population explosion of Biblical proportions).
It hit my legs, bounced onto my foot, and began hopping around the room like a toddler on a sugar high. I, of course, immediately freaked out and started shouting every curse word I could think of…I couldn’t stomp the stupid thing because I was barefooted and I At this point, Prince decided that I not only loved the gift but loved it so much that I wanted to play with it immediately so he ran in and began swatting. Bubba couldn’t decide if we were all having a rousing game of Cricket Catch or if this was just the SCARIEST SITUATION EVER, so he alternated between lunging in the room to play and jumping back barking hysterically…either way he was blocking the door and access to any cricket smashing implements. Meanwhile, Peek—who can’t climb the stairs on his own anymore—couldn’t figure out what all the ruckus was about so he stood at the bottom of the steps barking at the top of his tiny little lungs.
In short, it was complete mayhem.
And I’m fairly sure it’s mayhem that is a direct result of our leaving the two of them behind this weekend…but the thing is, I’ve traveled with these animals before. Bubba gets all freaked out in the car, refuses to sit anywhere except the front passenger seat floor, shakes for most of the trip, pants like he’s just run fifteen miles, and basically drools all over my leg.
Prince, on the other hand, cries for the entire trip unless I hold him on my lap…and when I hold him on my lap, he always throws up at least once. Usually twice.
And next month is Thanksgiving…which means another trip to see the family and the kind of debate no one told me about when I first got pets: Which is worse, a collection of corpses or bodily fluids on your lap?
kimbo325 is a teacher and writer trying to focus on the lighter side of life…she doesn’t hate crickets per se but wishes they would stay out of the house as they make the animals even crazier than usual. To read more notes about her crazy life, follow her on Twitter @kimbo325 or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ItIsInterestingToNote?ref=hl