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Animal Farm

I love animals. Dogs, cats, my husband, you name it. And it seems that most animals love me as well… dogs, cats, my husband.

As a child, I was the one who brought home the strays. Dogs, cats, my husband. Okay, not my husband. But I snuck the other poor vagabonds into the basement where I brushed, fed and cuddled them until my parents found out and put it to an end. Like all unrequited love, it made my affections even more powerful. What can I say? I’m a sucker for the creatures, as anyone who knows me will attest.

For me there is nothing worse than dropping by Petco on adoption days. The little kitty whiskers and big puppy dog eyes get me in the gut every time. When I see the Adoption Today sign it’s best I just turn myself around and walk away. I’m already just one tabby short of being a crazy cat lady and one dog shy of a kennel. I think the official crossover is three of any given species, with the exception of fish and chickens, which I find no attraction to.

My husband and I love to spend time at our cabin, which is about four hours away. Since no retreat is as fun without our pets, we often take them along. Hey, even Mitt Romney’s family wanted their dog on vacation with them. Only we don’t actually put our pets on the roof, though there would definitely be some advantage to that. Instead, we put Delbert, Wally, Greta and Brucie in the back seat, where they are a lot like children on a road trip.

I’m hungry. Wally’s taking up the whole seat! Are we there yet? Greta just scratched my eye out! I gotta go potty! (That one usually gets our attention.)

“Don’t make me turn around, because I will!” I threaten.

Last time I made the journey, our son asked me to bring along his puppy, as he and my husband would be meeting us at the cabin after a business trip. I reluctantly agreed. Four hours in a confined space with three dogs and two cats couldn’t be much worse than usual, right? Wrong.

After driving for some time with only one stop, I get a phone call from my ever-dog-loving son. “Um… Mom, I think you lost my dog.”

I was defensive. “No, I did not! I’m driving with her as we speak.”

“Really? Because I just got a phone call from someone who says he has her.”

“Well, he must be mistaken, cause she’s right here with me in the car.”

“Yeah? Can you see her?”

I look in the rear-view mirror at the tangle of fur and paws. “Ummm… yeah, I think so.” She has to be there. I only made one quick stop and she’d have to be Houdini to have gotten out. I look again before admitting I can’t see her.

“Damnit!” I holler. The animals twitch their ears in protest to my language, or perhaps my tone. “Why didn’t you tell me she got out?” I hiss at them accusingly. I swerve off the next exit, glaring back at the beasts.

An hour later, I have the whole animal farm inside my car. They are strangely quiet. “Yeah, I better not hear a peep from you, or I’ll put you all out on the street.”

They look at me with their little kitty whiskers and puppy dog eyes. They know a pushover when they see one, and they’re not falling for it. Anyone who would take the five of them on a 4-hour road trip has to be a stark-raving-lunatic-mad animal-lover.

What can I say? They’re probably right.