Friday, June 13, 2008

Pets and the Therapeutic Benefits of Canibalism

Below is another charming aspect of life in the country. This occupied the kids for awhile. I'm pretty sure it is poisonous.

OK - I have a friend who is often stating the obvious. And it is apparently a necessary compulsion if you're going to be friends with ME. Last night Jeff was on a business trip so my friend and her kids came over for dinner. She was reading my blog and she goes, " for the toilet seat ads being related to the content of your blog? You thank people for visiting the can." And I'm like, "So?"
"So, what makes that funny?"
"Well, visit the can. The can - you know - its a toilet - OH I GET IT!"
Man, I hate it when that happens. This particular friend used to work at NASA and not as a janitor, either. She had something to do with the design of the International Space Station. I'd tell you what but she's never really bothered to explain it to me seeing as how she's so busy explaining obvious things like the connection between "can" and "toilet". She took almost all of my tomatoes (and 2 of my kids) with her but other monsters were out there ripening on the vine just as fast as they could. I imagined one of the big "butt" tomatoes as the ringleader yelling, "Come on boys! We can't lose our lead! Her kitchen counters are almost cleared of our comrades! Intensify your efforts and focus!" Then they all started turning red, I'm sure. I imagine I'll meet them later this morning.
Yesterday I took our puppies to the vet for their second round of shots. We constantly have people dumping dogs out here in the country. This is quite a problem. We usually find homes for the dogs or take them to a dog rescue. But we kept 2 of the 4 puppies who were dumped here a little over a month ago. They look to be part Cow Dog and part Australian Sheep Hound. They are really cute and have very calm personalities. This is necessary. The calm part. Because I cannot handle anymore hysteria than I already get on a daily basis around here. The dogs are named Ranger and Scout. I had to approve the names. I'm not thrilled with Ranger and Scout as it reminds me of Bruce and Demi (their kids are Rumer and Scout) but I could not handle another pet named Brownie, Blackie, Whitey, Pinky, etc. Talk about stating the obvious! The kids always named their pets according to their colors.

Joel and Jules are rodent lovers and had 2 gerbils, once. Blackie met a horrific fate when he was stepped on by Hunter, one of the boys' friends. He didn't die but was partially paralyzed. That was a sad and depressing sight. He lived quite a long time in this condition and the boys still played with him all the time. He didn't appear to be uncomfortable at all and I suspect he had no feeling. But oh man that little rat could dampen an otherwise happy atmosphere by dragging his little legs behind him. And I can't begin to describe the guilt Hunter lived with. Anyway, Blackie eventually died but it was after an average gerbil lifespan. His partner, however, Witey Wotsun, (my boys are phonetic spellers), lived to be like a trillion gerbil years-old. He was ancient and looked every minute of it but all his limbs worked until the day he died. When he finally passed away the boys were devastated for a few minutes but then became very enthusiastic about the funeral. They decided on a Viking theme and Witey Wotsun was buried in his little house with all of his personal belongings stuffed in there with him for the trip to the After Life. In lieu of flowers, the boys requested a guinea pig.
Anyway - back to the dogs. They are bothering our other dog, Schnitzel (who was also dumped out here 12 years ago) because she is THE QUEEN. She is part wiener dog and part something with a really big neck, making it impossible for her to keep a collar on because her head is so much smaller than her neck. She understands every word of the English language. She considers Joel's and Jules' room to be her room. If her food bowl is empty and she's looking at me, I tell her, "Don't look at me. Go talk to your brother." And then she goes and stares at Jules who eventually gets up and feeds her. She is THE BIG DAWG when it comes to rodent killing and, living on a farm, this is a great characteristic in a dog, especially since we have a cat who has never even walked fast, much less chased anything. The boys have explained to Schnitzel about their pet rodents. She doesn't trust the guinea pigs, but she is nothing if not loyal to The Joels, so she doesn't mess with them. She often throws them looks, though. You can tell she's thinking, "You are soooooo lucky. If it weren't for these boys watching over you....." Notice how she is the only dog inside on a fluffy pillow?

Ellie isn't much into animals. She refuses to eat them but that is about as close as she gets to being an animal lover. But one time she decided to adopt some hamsters from a friend. The critical word here is "some". As in two supposedly boys. One of them predictably turned out to be a girl and we very soon found ourselves overrun by dwarf hamsters. We had a cage in every room. It took us months to find enough victims (I mean pet lovers) to take them all.

I remember going into my laundry room one time to wash yet another load and I was thinking how my life consisted of nothing but laundry and dishes. I heard a little squeak from the hamster cage on my folding counter (I told you we had them in every room) and there was the latest new mother. She was literally hanging from the bars of her cage. I kid you not. She was hanging by her little hands and 3 babies were hanging off of her chest while the others ran around beneath her feet waiting for her to drop. I was still breastfeeding at the time and Jasper was wrapped around my leg begging for "na-na" while I held a load of dirty clothes in my arms. The hamster and I locked eyes. We shared a silent moment of deep connection. We were both frantic. I often felt like climbing the walls and certainly would have been hanging from my ceiling had it been physically possible.

The next day I went into the laundry room and peeked in at my rodent sister. She looked happy and peaceful. She was lying in her little nest with a grin on her face and I swear she had a margarita in one hand and a book in the other. Her feet were crossed. She yawned and stretched...."Hey!" I yelled. "Where are your kids?"

She looked at me as if to say innocently, "What kids?"

That's right. SHE ATE THEM.

And that's when I realized that there was only one way to achieve rest and relaxation under my current circumstances. And quite frankly, I just didn't have the appetite for it : ).

Sardine Mama

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