I guess I was the last one to find out about Daughter’s phantasmagoric focus on cats. I suppose I just wasn’t paying close enough attention over the last twenty-some odd years while she was growing up, evidently in some kind of cat convent.
From the photos that populate most of her blogs, it seems she spends about the same amount of time searching out “cute” feline pics on the internet that I do trolling the “Cars For Sale by Owner” section of Craigslist.
Our home has always featured some type of animal menagerie, even before our children invaded the scene. We started off with two cats — one a cast-off from a co-worker and the other a stray who ingratiated himself very cunningly into our tiny apartment. We were soon joined by a neglected lab who we tried to give away but ultimately couldn’t bear to — especially after “screening” the various miscreants and wackos who answered our adoption ad.
It turned out that not giving away that dog was one of the best decisions we ever made, and almost, almost made up for not investing in Microsoft stock in 1986. Of course back then, early in our marriage, investing in anything was what other people did; not us.
Once our family began to grow, we were joined over the years by fish, birds, more fish, a hamster, cats and more cats, yet more fish, and, finally, another dog. That would be Dandy Dog, featured in the photo above.
With few exceptions, all of these creatures were loved by all of us. Even the fish. My wife had the last fish conditioned to come to her at feeding time. No kidding.
We devote our spare time around here for these kinds of endeavors, yet none of our animals are really “trained” in the traditional sense of the word.
Certainly not the cats. And since we inherited Dandy Dog from a rescue society, he came to us “pre-trained” in a matter of speaking. That is to say, he’s very good at mimicking obedience and certain party tricks, if there is a treat on the line. Otherwise, he tends to do mostly whatever he wants to do.
His main pursuit, focus, and dedication in life is to my Wife. His days are spent following her, trying to figure out where she is, camping by the front door wondering if she is ever going to come home, following her (did I already mention that), watching her, and sleeping. Occasionally he eats.
His routine is only broken by the odd delivery person or anyone who ventures to knock on our front door, at which time he becomes the US Postal Service/UPS/Fedex/Random Knocker’s Worst Nightmare.
Thus provoked, Dandy transforms into Cerberus, the three-headed Hound guarding the Gates of Hell.
Of course Dandy only has one head, but he sure
as shi sounds like he’s got three, especially from the other side of the door.
Needless to say we do not receive package deliveries to our front door any longer. We’ve worked out an arrangement with all the delivery guys so that they drop off whatever they have somewhere in the front yard. My wife has essentially made them feel guilty (bribed them) with Christmas gift cards to ensure we do still benefit from delivery service.
The USPS guy is made of stouter stuff. He still puts mail in the box, but we have to be ever-watchful for him, lest he be torn limb from limb by Dandy. Several prior USPS representatives have, in fact, made a big deal about our vicious dog, but I suppose they are mostly worried about retaining all their limbs. So, I understand that perspective.
The funny thing is we adopted Dandy specifically for Daughter. She wanted a dog to run with, to fuss over, to protect her, to dress up in stupid costumes.
Is it any wonder, then, that he loves the Matriarch around here instead?
Given these circumstances, and the fact that all the animals in our house can now be solidly classified as “elderly”, we are seriously considering our future options when they all have collectively faded away into (pick ’em) Dog Heaven and Cat Heaven.
(Both those places do exist, by the way. Absolutely no doubt in my mind on that one.)
The debate here is the classic “freedom versus anchor” situation.
While these animals have enriched our lives (and soiled our carpets) beyond our wildest dreams, every activity or trip we plan has to take into account either bringing the dog with us, or having someone take care of him and the cats while we’re gone.
I’m fairly well sick of traveling, but I am not the driver, so to speak, of this debate.
If I’m not mistaken, the following activities are planned for some indeterminate time in our future: cruise to the Bahamas, cruise to Hawaii, cruise to Alaska, river cruise through Europe, cruise throughout the Mediterranean, cruise to South America, multiple Disney visits, African photo safari, etc.
And that’s just the first year.
Clearly a dog is not part of this particular equation.
So, what to do?
My sense is that the situation will ultimately take care of itself through one of three ways:
1. Daughter will adopt a cat/dog/something, develop an allergy to it, and Mom and Dad will just have to take it in;
2. Son will complete some version of the same scenario, though if it’s a dog, it will be some type of pit bull/rottweiler mix;
3. Dandy, after “high-pawing” a thousand angels, will send another lost canine soul in our direction, because he knows we will devote on that canine the same care and love that we’ve showered on all the animals that have graced our home over the last twenty-seven years.
I’m just hopeful he will have the sense enough to wait until after the Bahamas cruise before doing so. Even I’m looking forward to that one.