I love animals and my husband is a veterinarian, which would seem like a match made in heaven, right? But, like most medical professionals, my husband is kind and caring, but also very practical and not a bleeding heart for every stray that crosses his path, but then again, he married me.
I met him for the first time when I took my cat to the clinic for her shots many years ago. I saw this tall, dark, and handsome man putting a thermometer up my cat’s ass, and thought, “Wow, he has such gentle hands.” From then on, it was fate. And apparently some strange fascination I have with taking rectal temperatures.
During the time we were dating, I had three dogs and a cat. And let me just tell you now that three dogs is the canine equivalent of a crazy cat lady. Two is one thing, but when you have three or, God forbid, more than that, well, then you’ve just made a lifestyle choice.
Over the years, the original three banditos crossed the rainbow bridge, and finally that ancient cat went on to terrorize other people in the afterlife, and we had a child.
My husband travels a lot. The secret animal hoarding started when he was out-of-town and I decided that our next dog would be a dachshund. Without his knowledge, I contacted a rescue, filled out an application, and scheduled a home visit. Only when we were approved and offered our first potential adoption did I tell him what I had done.Okay, full disclosure: two of those original three dogs were still alive, but they both had one paw on a banana peel, and I wanted another dog! What better way to cope with the grief of their passing than the joy of a new little one? Sure, that meant we would have three dogs again, but not for long if my predictions were correct.
It took some moping, heavy sighing and crocodile tears, but I finally got him to grudgingly agree, and that was the moment he lost the game, a game he didn’t even know he was playing.
A couple of years after that and we really were down to one dog and the immortal cat-who-would-not-die.My sister wound up with two cockatiels through some nefarious means and offered us one, so I made arrangements to get the bird from her when we visited for the holidays. The first time my husband knew it was happening was when I told him that he needed to carry the cage to our car. I can’t repeat what he said in that moment, but we did, in fact, drive “KiKi” three hundred miles home, with my husband swearing intermittently the entire way.
A few months after that, the newness of the bird had worn off and I–I mean my daughter–needed another fix. What about a guinea pig? Oh, we were so… I mean, she… she was so excited. When my husband got home from work, I said, “Your daughter has something to show you in her room.” From down the hall I heard, “Are you fucking kidding me?” And with that, we welcomed Kibbles to the fold.One day, my daughter and I made a trip to the pet store to buy litter for our immortal vampire cat, and it just happened to be a day that the local animal shelter was there and at this point, we had been a one-dog family for a couple of years… now, in my defense, this time I called my husband and asked if we could get this particular dog, and he said, “I’m not saying no, but I am saying I don’t think you should.” Well, with that one statement he sealed the future and we were back up to two dogs because he didn’t tell me “no.” So when he got home from work that day, we introduced him to “Cody,” our new-to-us doxie-chihuahua mix who was approximately 8 years old and had been at the shelter for six months already. That dog was on borrowed time, and we saved him!
Now my husband is angry. I mean, didn’t he just tell me over that phone that he wasn’t saying “no”?A few more months go by, our zombie cat does finally pass into the great beyond and we are now a family of two dogs, one bird, and one guinea pig. And then my daughter and I go to a craft fair. Why in the hell they were selling baby turtles there, I do not know, but oh how my daughter begged for one. “No,” I said. “Your dad will kill me.”
Of course, I gave in, as I always do when it comes to another pet, and now “Lucky,” a red-eared slider the size of a quarter became part of our family.
So now, we are at two dogs, one bird, one guinea pig, and one turtle. At this point, my husband, for his own survival, makes a threat. I am terrified of snakes, horribly, irrationally, insanely terrified; however, my daughter is not. She would love a pet snake.
My dear, sweet, silly husband threatened me by saying that if I brought another animal into the house, he would get our child a pet snake and I informed him that I would be living at The Renaissance until the snake was gone. I kind of wish he would do it. I could enjoy a hot stone massage, roof-top pool, and room service right about now.So it’s not my fault that my daughter’s teacher had a litter of free baby gerbils, is it? I mean, they were free. Of course that was before spending a hundred dollars on food and supplies.
So, “Groot” and “Shakespeare” came home with us. We were now at two dogs, one bird, one guinea pig, one turtle, and two gerbils. I was not afraid of my husband’s snake threat but I thought, just for giggles, we would see how long we could hide the gerbils from him. And I don’t mean putting them in a closet. I mean setting them in my daughter’s room in plain sight.
We had them for four months before he went into her bedroom one day and heard the squeaky wheel as Groot ran his daily marathon. “What is that in her room?” he asked. “Do we have another animal in the house?”
Of course, a snake has never materialized because he knows I am completely serious about living at The Renaissance.
Recently, I came upon an opportunity to get a free baby potbellied pig. Now, I’m not that crazy. I wasn’t actually going to do it. As much fun as a baby pig would be, we don’t have the room, and I have enough habitats to clean as it is, and, sure, it would be adorable, but also it would eventually be as large and solid as an Amish-built coffee table.
But for my own amusement, I sent him an email and asked if I could get the baby pig. His response was calm and measured. He did not tell me not to do it, nor did he threaten me with a snake or anything else, but instead politely asked that I please not do it because he didn’t want a pet pig in the house. I let that email sit there a while for my own passive-aggressive amusement, but then I got a second email imploring me not to do it. At that point, I decided to let him off the hook. I sent him an email assuring him that he would not come home to find Porky the Pig living in our house.
And now, after two dogs, one bird, one guinea pig, one turtle, two gerbils, and almost a pig, my precious husband has finally made peace with the fact that someday, he will once again, have to say, “do we have another animal in the house?”
Cheaper Than Therapy is a blog and live storytelling show in Montgomery, AL. FOLLOW the blog, LIKE the show on FB, FOLLOW me on Twitter @ReneaDijab or come check out the show!