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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Our Family Pet

We don't have pets. Except for a few sizable stuffed ones. We go for statement pieces in the stuffed variety. Indeed I made a statement of sorts when I stumbled into this thing in the dark in the kitchen the other morning. That he was wearing a jaunty cap made it no less frustrating that a rocking horse was standing between me and caffeine. The Mister sometimes accuses my home decor of being inspired by "Silver Spoons."

This beloved pal was delivered to our very small townhouse when we were expecting Big Sister. I was nesting and planning a darling palm trees and monkeys nursery. Perhaps stricken with an all-encompassing diagnosis my girlfriend coined "pregnesia," I thought a giant giraffe would be a perfect addition to our little home with way more people than bedrooms. You should know that a 5 foot giraffe wasn't on the top of the Mister's priorities. A neighbor came over to see what had just been delivered in a spectacular 6 foot tall box. I told her, "A five foot giraffe for the baby. I haven't told the Mister about it yet" just as the Mister drove up. Early. My neighbor whispered, "I'm going to stay to watch this" and stepped to the side just a bit to watch a hugely pregnant woman explain herself. Our pets are entertaining even upon their arrival.

But so far, we've not managed to acquire any pets with pulses. That's not how we saw things at the beginning. In fact, when the Mister and I were just starting out in Richmond, we used to talk about getting a Newfoundland. Again, probably somewhere deeply rooted in a statement piece, an enormous animal by any measure. We were so convinced this dog was for us. This is seriously how I remember spending some evenings: We would go to the bookstore, I'd get a coffee, and we'd browse the pet aisle, reading about this huge canine breed that was notably good with children.

In most every way, that seems like a million years ago. Maybe more.

With the uptick in talk lately about the possibility of our heading Stateside next, or at least not terribly long from now, I fear I'm about to go from international executive wife to cliche suburban mom before you can say "all day soccer Saturday." And with apologies to all my friends who love their vans, you should know that in the discussions recently, I said, "I might as well just get a minivan."

Anyway, soon to be home without any smalls even for a few hours during the week, it seems like the next cliche box to tick would be "get a dog."  Here's where what we thought would be the case starts to wildly diverge from our reality. And that's okay. Biggest Brother is allergic to dogs and cats. Although he cannot keep himself from petting them or being drawn to their presence. He, a devoted fan of the behind the scenes airport security shows, was very fretful that our luggage en route to Spain would be traipsed on by sniffer dogs and he'd have a reaction!

And if you know anything about the Newfoundland breed, or maybe dogs in general, they shed, drool, and have various bodily functions. Sometimes indoors. If you know how I at least aspire to maintain our home, these are vastly divergent ideas. International doggie quarantines and allergic child aside, the greatest single thing that will keep us from ever having an animal here is the potential messiness. Quirky and germphobic, maybe, but I'm honest: I'd have a much easier time with the various untidiness created by an infant. Still waiting for one to arrive in a basket on my doorstep. Darn security in our building!

The second summer I worked as a nanny for a boy about the boys' ages now, the family bought an adorable black lab puppy. The parents asked for my okay, too, knowing the puppy would be "mine" to care for during the day times. I have nothing but sweet memories of that tiny black ball nestled at my feet sleeping for what seemed like the entire summer.

So I'm all for puppies and dogs. But maybe growing up with animals no larger than hamsters, and having only endured the heartbreak of losing a 7 day old goldfish with the smalls, makes me fairly sure a real and furry pet isn't in our future. I can still hear Big Sister asking, "Where go Fippy?" in a plaintive notice of our beloved Flippy being found all too still and his fishbowl in the dishwasher.

That was terrible and we'd only known our beloved "Flippy" for seven days.

So. This Liberty pig. He's our pet. Maybe forever. Who could ask for more? He is sturdy, quiet, and clean. Enduring of being stepped and sat on. Stoic about being surfed on and dressed up, having wet hair drip on him and being "cleaned" by Baby Sister. This is frankly, my favorite kind of pet. And that's before I've even told you how he and his siblings have been lovingly created by a VERY small English company that positively dotes over their creations even after they've found homes.

I have promised the children that a replica of this pig will be the first house warming gift (even if for a dorm room!) they get from me. Their laughter over that prospect makes me want to be sure it will happen that way. I may need a paper route (or 4!) to make it happen but I'm gonna do it. I noted the cousins took a shine to him, too. Maybe they'll get one from me when they leave their nests, too.

1 comment:

  1. What cute little critters! I think they are sweet little pet substitutes. I grew up on a farm so my perspective of pets is kind of different from the average person!

    BTW, you should check out the giveaway on my blog, open to UK Residents and it is a free pair of Hunters! Check it out!