Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Furred and Feathered

Today I'm introducing the critters who share our space. I'm the Mom who can't say no to a pet. Actually, I'm the Mom who never wants to. I've always loved animals, and would some day love to live in the country with a big barn to house a rag tag team of strays. Buzzard says we need to stay in the city, so he has ordinances to help keep our pet population in check. Back in the day, he and I used to be a foster home for some dog rescue programs. As our kids have grown through various stages, this house has been a revolving door for Kingdom Animalia. The current crowd consists of "normal" house pets, and for the current time I'm very happy to keep it that way.

This is my girl.

Bless her old, ancient soul. She gets top billing around here. She may be a half deaf, half blind, half wit, but she's still my bud, and I adore this goofy animal. Old dogs are a lot of work, and a lot of stink, but they are a whole lot of unconditional love too. Truth be told, I wouldn't know how to walk through this house without her right at my heel, stinking the whole time, and I hope I don't have to learn for a long, long time.

Back when Buzzard and I were young and spontaneous, about a hundred and twelve years ago, we were cuddled up on the couch watching a show one night, and a dog food commercial came on with a blond Golden Retriever puppy named Morgan. I got all excited and told Buzzard that more than anything in life I wanted a blond Golden Retriever puppy named Morgan. So he went and got me one. That was three kids, three houses, and three jeans sizes ago. Buzz and I still sit on the couch together sometimes with Morgan between us, snoring loudly and tooting even louder. Really, it's hard to keep puppy love alive a hundred and twelve years. Still, they don't call them "Golden" for nothing. She's top dog.

About five years ago I started to miss the puppy stage. We had a yellow lab named Sandy that passed away, and Morgan seemed so lonely. Honestly, the puppy stage is never to be missed. It's not so much of a "stage" as a life altering myriad of discipline and training issues that consume every waking moment, disrupt the schedule of every living being, and last unequivocally too long to be considered a "stage". I'd have three more kids before I'd ever have another puppy. Three more kids and a boyfriend with a carpet and upholstery cleaning business. Anyway, we purchased Mindy, our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy, from a breeder.

I insisted we pay extra for breeding rights so the kids and I could raise a litter of puppies. Four seconds later I insisted we pay to have her spayed, when it became immediately obvious that I was profoundly unprepared to keep up with one puppy, let alone a litter of them. Can I just say that Buzzard is an eternally patient man who deserves some kind of medal?? We all survived puppyhood, and Mindy didn't turn out half bad. She's not the bravest (or smartest) pea in the pod, but she's a cutie poot, and we love her. Her only (only?) annoying habit is licking. She loves to lick. Aunt Jackie says she has her licker license.

Ever since Emma started eating Cheerios and other solid foods, Mindy has packed a little pooch. She's a tad "fluffier" than she was before Emma became infatuated with throwing food off her tray.

Leo was Hannah's 13th birthday present. He chose her at the pound; climbed right out of the cage and into her arms. They've been tight ever since.

Leo is a lounge lizard with loads of personality. He likes to be the center of attention, which I think is rather rare for cats, and he pesters all visitors who come to call.

Leo needs to relax and not be so uptight.

This is the looker of the bunch. Aint she cute?

This is Nory, my daughter's lovebird. Nory lives in Hannah's room and is positively the sweetest bird I've ever known. We've had lots of birds over the years. I think they make fabulous pets. Nory is gentle and affectionate, and is really attached to people. She wouldn't sit still while I was snapping pictures because she wanted out to play. So I gave in.

Miss Piggy is Hayden's pride and joy. Her name is Daffodil, and she is our R.O.U.S. (Rodent of unusual size, for you Princess Bride fans.) Hayden's first love was Clementine, ROUS #1. Clementine met with a sad fate one year while we were on vacation, and Hayden's little heart was broken. Daff is a suitable friend, and although he really adores her, I think Hayden still carries a torch for his beloved Clementine. Guinea pigs are easy and fun, and make handy garbage disposals for left over fruits and vegetables. :)

That's it! The mammals of the manor. And just for grins, how about a picture of my very favorite critter keeper. My cat tail tugger. My Cheerio dropper. My water bowl splasher. My future pooper scooper. This is one of my favorite photos of all time. :)

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