It happens to every family, eventually. Somebody effs up and does something so unforgivable that even the littlest, most agreeable person in the family is pissed. Some spouses make career decisions that take their family far away from friends and familiarity. Many guilt their partners into having a child. Some people have sex changes! My faux-pas is pictured below:
Let me explain. I grew up with a mother who practically drove down the streets of our town with her passenger door open whistling and calling stray animals for fun on the weekends. Sometimes she called it “garage saling”. More often did it end up that we’d foster a scrawny dog or cat she found eating out of a trash can than actually finding a good deal on patio furniture or roller-skates. And I have fond memories of Bubba, Pierre, Tootsie, Sophie, Dusty, Zoe, Gabe, and Chiquita the cockatiel who “just landed on her shoulder in the Pinch-a-Penny parking lot”. There were even photos of me as an infant with the random rag-a-muffin terrier from down the street or Jeep the mutt and Judge the cast-away.
Some stayed for years. Some stayed for weeks. All were loved and honored with prime real estate in the family photo albums. Each name remembered and my mom could tell you which street or back parking lot they were rescued from. Pierre was a poodle gifted to my grandma after being attacked by the neighbor’s shepherd. He lived to be almost twenty and had his coif maintained on a bi-weekly basis. Many were entrusted to family or close friends. Teachers all over my mom’s school have pets formerly fostered by Ms. Watson and although orphans I brought home myself were sometimes greeted with angry eyebrows, they were all named, nursed, and cared for while staying at our house. Even the black kitten I found in the bushes by the neighborhood street sign could be found purring in the lap of my mom when I got home from wherever the hell high-schoolers go at night. He was named Jinx and our old family babysitter was more than happy to add him to her cat collection.
So, yeah. I had lots of pets. And when my mother refused to let me take the family dog (Shannon) to college with me I did what any impulsive, bleeding-heart animal lover would do and adopted my own dog. Who is snoring and passing wind next to me on the couch as I type. I’ve had my share of strays fed on porches, rescues gone wrong and later righted. I brought home a rottweiller named Reno who wouldn’t let my roommate in my bedroom to borrow clothes. She lasted three weeks. (The dog, not my roommate.) And found a surprisingly perfect match with an old lady in St. Pete when it didn’t work out for us.
JG, on the other hand, has had one family dog. And by his account, it wasn’t the most pleasant thing to be around. Old and blind and attached to his mom. So he’s been more than happy to help me collect our motley crew of rescued and adopted pets over the years. The cat was first and Boone came much later. But they all found their places in the family and assumed their roles as dominant or submissive, lap dog or pats-only. And until now, I didn’t think we’d run out of heart to go around.
I adopted the above cutie-patootie this weekend without pre-approval knowing that as soon as the family took her into their arms they would adore her as much as I did standing amid the sea of other dogs and cats up for adoption at my local pet-food store. She has a story, of course, but I’m already pushing my luck here. I’ll skip to the chase.
Polly prissy-pants up there has become enemy number one. Both dogs make mean ugly growly faces non-stop when she’s around and even Sam has wonked her on the head a few times with his blocks or trains or whatever she is persistently trying to wrestle out of his grasp. She’s hooked herself on JG’s pajama pants one too many times to be forgiven and everyone looks at me when she leaves a puddle on the tile. Nobody likes her unless she’s asleep. And then it’s all “awww, she’s not so bad” and “please don’t wake her up or i’ll use her leash as a noose on you” and stuff.
And there’s that thing about there being another baby here in a few months. Which, by my calculations is just enough time to get Polly acclimated to the place and in-step with the rest of our crew, but nooooo. I messed up big time on this one. It looks as if she might just be here for a while, but I’ll be damned if I’m not going to make her stay here as good as I can. Maybe if I use every naptime in between now and next week when our backyard gets fenced in, I’ll have a more polite Polly on my hands and the family will start to see in her what I do. Potential.
Wish me luck. Imma-needit!