It’s Raining Cats and Dogs (and Birds, Rats, etc.)

“The difference between friends and pets is that friends we allow into our company, pets we allow into our solitude.”  ~Robert Brault,

“Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.”  ~George Eliot

“There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.”  ~Ben Williams

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~Anatole France


Prior to 2005, I had three young children, a husband and a full-time+ job.  “Mom, can I have a [insert name of animal here] ? I promise I will take care of it.”  “NO.”    I played the part of the mean mom that wouldn’t let my children have pets and I played this part very well.  

Now, it’s the spring of 2005 (kids are 5, 8, & 11) and the kids and the hubby are starting to work me over for a dog.  I actually start considering it – what the hell is wrong with me?  Then, my husband makes a job change and due to a non-compete clause, he can’t work for 3 months.  Now, he’s starting to say things like, “This is the perfect time for us to get a dog.  I’ll be home and can get it trained, etc. Blah, blah…”  

(I do want to take a moment to point out that I am an animal lover.  Really. When I was young, I was always bringing home stray, unwanted animals (my parents are nodding their heads as they read this).  Really, it’s true.  So, what’s happened to me as an adult?  Adult, real life stuff I suppose.  At that time, we were rarely home – both of our jobs, the kids’ activities, etc.)

Back to the story:  so the hubby, sensing my inner turmoil, declares that we will get the kids a dog, damn it!  My requirements:  no more than 50 lbs and no shedding.  Ummm, okay that’s not too restrictive, right?  To make a long story short, Jasper was a sweet surprise for the kids and for about a week, we were The Best parents EVER!  As it turns out, he’s an 80 lb horse (a bit more than 50 lbs) with the sweetest personality and NO shedding.  Not a bad addition to the Engledow clan.

Apparently, Jasper was the chink in my armor and thus the sliding down the slippery slope had begun.  We added the fish last Christmas (Rachel’s wards) and the parakeets three days ago (Maddie’s wards).  Now, we just got the best news ever!

Jack (running into the house):  “Mommy, guess what?”

Me (with a little dread):   “What, honey?”

Jack:   “I’m getting a rat!  Only two kids wanted rats and no one else put their name in, so Mrs. Eberly made a decision today on who got the rats.”

Me:  (Oh, Shoot!)   “That’s great, buddy!  Which rat did you pick?”

Jack:   “Marshmallow.  Can I go get the cage for Marshmallow?”

We did not go rat cage shopping tonight because we are not getting Marshmallow until mid-December and I need time to absorb the news.  I also need time to reflect on what has happened to me and my resolve.  I’m turning into a namby-pamby.  Oh, help me…

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