Our Animal House

This humor article was written a very long time ago. Travis, the dog in the story, went to wait at the rainbow bridge in November of this year. He was a good boy.
By: Loretta Casteen

The collection of pets living at my house has gotten out of hand. It’s a real zoo around here. I’m not kidding. We should be charging admission.
It all started with the goldfish. My son was three and begging for a pet. I figured a few goldfish would satisfy him without causing me any big headaches. Goldfish are quiet, cheap, low maintenance and their messes are confined to one small area. No problem, right? Yeah, right.
We placed the fish bowl in my son’s room on his dresser. We gave careful instructions on daily feeding and informed him that goldfish liked only to be looked at and not touched. However, my husband and I forgot to tell him that goldfish do NOT enjoy a liberal splash of Mommy’s favorite perfume in their water, even if they are a little stinky. We suffered through our first pet funeral (it was a mass burial) and the second batch of goldfish now live peacefully atop our six-foot high entertainment center.
Then came the dog. Okay, getting the dog was actually my idea. Because of his job my husband is away from home quite a bit, so I wanted a big dog with a big, gruff “woof” that would leave any would-be intruder shaking in his shoes. What I got was a huge, overly friendly goofball who is also a master escape artist. Under the fence, over the fence, out a window, through the screen door–you name it, he can get out. Scouring the neighborhood at three o’clock in the morning, looking for my “watch dog” is not what I had in mind. I am consoled by the fact that if anyone does break into the house, the dog (if he happens to be home) will probably lick the bad guy to death.
Did I mention the hamster? Against my better judgement, I was persuaded that my son, now four years old, would be able to properly care for one of the little critters. The lady at the pet store assured me the hamster my son chose was male. We brought “Stanley” and his huge array of accessories home and in less than four days Stanley was a mother –times seven. Thankfully, the pet store agreed to take the babies once they were old enough. Stanley…er… Stacy….now lives in solitary splendor in a hamster penthouse elaborate enough to make Hugh Hefner jealous.
We inherited the rabbit when our next-door neighbor moved. I had agreed to take my neighbor’s houseplants and stray grocery items– though what I’m going to do with that can of minced clams and the half –full bag of frozen okra, I’ve no idea. Anyway, what I did not know was that my husband and son had also agreed to take “Bunnie” as well. Bunnie is really sweet, (and quiet) but we don’t let her out of her cage much because she likes to chase the dog (maybe that’s the reason he tries to leave home so much).
Over time we’ve also accumulated a bird, a turtle and an endlessly varied collection of bugs brought in from outside
Between buying pet food and paying the vet bills we’re just about broke and I’m exhausted–care and cleanup almost always falls to you-know-who.
Looking around at this household menagerie, I can only think one thing: Thank God I’m allergic to cats.


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