Pet Lovers - Down On The Farm
A Girl And Her Dog
Animals have always been a part of our life so I guess you could call us animal lovers. Our pets may have an entirely different take on the situation. For years, my husband dragged in one animal after another to be taken care of. The children, at an early age, picked up on which parent to plead their case when it came to animal matters. We now have 2 cats, 3 dogs, 2 goats and 6 horses.
I should have known there would be trouble when my children kept asking for a house pet. “No, no, no”, I found myself repeating daily. Even Dad didn’t buckle on this issue. Neither did the kids. They decided if we wouldn’t get them a ready made house pet, they would work with whatever material they could find. The only thing available was the black mouth cur dog in the yard. That would be Odie, an Old Yeller type for those of you unfamiliar with the black mouth cur. He was a perfectly willing participant in the goings on. As I went about my household chores one morning, I kept hearing a thumping sound. Following the giggles in the restroom I opened the door and saw the kids sitting in the floor playing. “What are you two doing in here?” I asked. “Nothing, Mama”, they replied simultaneously. Seeing nothing amiss, I went about my business.
A moment later the thumping began again, then more giggles. “What in the world is that noise?” I wondered aloud. “We don’t know”, two small voices came back, in unison, followed by a whine and a yip. “Okay, where is he?” I growled, as it finally registered. This elicited no answer from the children, but a series of short, sharp barks came from inside the bathroom. Still, no dog was to be seen. Another bark and a thump, thump gave his position away. They had him stashed inside the cabinet underneath the bathroom sink. The children sat with their backs against the cabinet doors. They turned and slowly opened the doors. Out slunk Odie. Head down and tail tucked, he headed for the back door and freedom.
Playing Dress Up
Odie stayed in the yard after that, but continued to participate in playtime with the kids. Dress up was a favorite past time and Odie wasn’t averse to joining in. I opened my door one winter morning, to find my neighbor grinning from ear to ear. “Why’s that dog wearing pajamas?” he asked, as I peeked over his shoulder to check on the children. There was my boy, stripped to the waist, in the brisk air. Beside him was the dog, wearing my son’s red sweatshirt.
Caving to the pressure, we finally agreed the children could have a house pet, with the stipulation it had to be a kitten. Tommy Zipper came to live with us. The half grown offspring of an alley cat, about all Zip had going for himself was an even temperament and a high tolerance for children. He was soon parading around the house in a variety of doll clothing. One day he would be dressed to the nines in a velvet dress with a matching cape. The next may find him wearing a tiny baseball suit, cap and all. Zip has dealt well with being painted with glitter paint and nail polish. He carried his tail proudly even when the white portions were painted fluorescent pink with a magic marker. Although he wore a look of disgust when one side of his whiskers was trimmed to a quarter inch, never did he strike back. Whether from love or just thankful he is off the streets, is anybody’s guess.
Lessons in Pet Ownership
The horse has had his fair share of attention also. My daughter called from the back yard, “Mom, come look at J. D.!” Speechless pretty much described Dad and me as we stood staring at the gussied up horse standing before us. Blue glitter eye shadow and bright red lipstick gave him a bit of a cheap look. One hoof was painted chrome. J. D. didn’t seem to know whether he was pretty or not. The only thing he could settle on was taste testing the flavored lipstick.
All in all, our animals lead a pretty interesting life compared to most and I guess you could say it’s an educational experience for the children. I know it has been for me. I never knew one could ride a goat until I saw my son riding one his sister saddled for him. I’ve learned that no matter how much water you pour on a dead minnow, you can’t revive him. And, yes, I promise you, cats can swim.