b ~ Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.

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I cannot imagine my childhood without Charlotte, Snowball and
Strawberry Shortcake the guinea pigs. Nor could I forget the cats that
served as substitute dogs: Midnight, Mindy, Sunkist, Muffin and Cameo.
Looking back, I’m sure my first college dormmates could have done
without my gerbils Phinneas and Phoebe and Ripley the parakeet. (No
one had said I couldn’t bring pets. It wasn’t in the freshman
handbook, I checked…)

My life as a grownup really began the moment my roommate brought home
that fluffball of a black pup we named Bronte. That dog was my
companion for many years until we met M and she went, as we say, to
the dark side. She’s featured in a few of our wedding pictures,
capturing in an instant the beginning of our family.

Now we live with Vera, Zelda and Angus Thong the dogs. Albus Dumbldore
and Miss Perspicacia Tick the bunnies share office space with Arthur
and Harvey–The Dent Duo as we call them. Such cute little guinea
pigs. Floating through the menagerie is our cat, CS Lewis. He’s
certainly a much more rambunctious fellow then his orange colored
predecessor, Bartelby. Somehow the phrase “There’s always room for one
more” plays on repeat in this house. But I know we have hit our limit,
and maxed out on the cute and fluffy. I’ve thought about getting
chicks but have tried to be rational and reasonable with myself. I am
not one to deal with death well. It hurts too much. Still the thought
of going out and collecting eggs spurs this dream on.

Yet I am not the type of person who could live without a pet. Lock me
up in a prison cell and I would befriend a spider or whatever other
creature might be crawling there. I can be counted on to cry when
reading “Beautiful Joe” or “Where the Red Fern Grows”– everytime.
Without fail. There is something so necessary about those companions
that makes me ignore the inevitable outcome, though we have bandied
about the idea of a tortoise or parrot who might outlive us all.

Sure our animals are loud, and prone to shedding all year long. They
make it impossible to take a spur of the moment vacation. But the
benefits outweigh the bad. All of our animals are rescued, but when
they seek me out for a snuggle when I am sad or I’ve been crying–
it’s like they have rescued me.

When I lay down to sleep at night and there’s a furry four-legged heavy
weight plopping down next to me, I rest easier. I an comforted by the
sounds they make as they sleep, knowing that everyone is tucked in
where they should be for the night. I close my eyes. On the floor
there are several must-read books stacked precariously and a dog
someone stretched out on the rug. It feels like an end before a
beginning. Everything is right with the world.

About andi

Writer, editor, wrangler of small boys and dogs.

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