Published Sunday, July 08, 2012

On being a pet person

Let’s face it, we’re pet people. We have had more cats and dogs than I can count. When the kids were little there were a number of cats and dogs, plus two rabbits, a pair of parakeets, a guinea pig and a pony in our family.

I figured we’d have a few months with guinea pig Phineas J. Potts, but doggone if he didn’t outlive one of the cats. He was sociable, whistling every time we approached his wire cage. He enjoyed riding on our radio-controlled pick up truck, but we wouldn’t let him ride it with the birds, just in case he got hungry. They delighted in many a private tour of the living room and kitchen from the rooftop of a speeding plastic truck.

The rabbits lived outside in a comfy homemade hutch that provided them perfect shelter. The problem with outdoor rabbits was they became indoor visitors on many occasions. Since they were too big to ride through the house on the truck they had to endure being dressed up in strange and festive rabbit-wear.

Our daughter fashioned many accessories for them, from collars to capes and hats. The silly rabbits would just sit there twitching their noses while the kids took tons of pictures of them dressed in their finery.

We had to bring the rabbits in the house when it stormed and they would bury their soft heads in the crooks of the arms that held them. It was sweet to offer them such comfort while the storm raged outside.

In time we were down to one rabbit a few dogs and cats, and a sick guinea pig. We bundled up the little guy and took him to the vet. The diagnosis was kidney failure. That night would be his last and the next day we had a little guinea pig funeral.

It was a bit of a circus with our menagerie but we lived in the woods of Moreland, the most perfect place on earth to raise kids. Adding the pets to make their experience even better was a no brainer.

Today our family is spread out to three houses in three different cities. Between us there are seven dogs, one cat, two horses and numerous chickens, ducks and turkeys.

The Boy called last night and asked if we could keep his family dog - a large boxer named Ike - for a few days. Ike is a rescue and was apparently mistreated to the point that he must be with someone at all times. He cannot bear to be alone and to prove that point he will disassemble an entire house in a matter of minutes.

We agreed to keep the pup and decided we’d even load up ole Ike and our three Boston Terrier stooges Dyson the Terrible, Hoover and Kerby and take them to a drive-in movie about an hour from our home.

I called the drive-in to make sure they allow dogs. They do, as long as they are on leashes.

I’m excited to find something we can do with the pups, especially since Ninja Man suggested we take his truck and set up camp in the bed of it to watch the movie. Our dogs travel with us all the time. They love it probably because Ninja Man folds down the seats and put their beds and blankets just right, making nests for the pups to enjoy during their ride.

Ike will be here on Thursday. Movie night is Saturday. I’m not sure what we’ll do in between but one thing is for sure, he won’t be alone. It’s what us pet people do; we love them and they are part of our family, crazy pets that they are.

Now I’m off to find some gourmet pup treats for that movie night. I’m looking forward to it. With all those knuckleheads on board, it is sure to be a tail-wagging good time.


Kathy Bohannon is a weekly contributor to The Newnan Times-Herald. Join her for the signing of Gardens of Savannah at Scott’s Book Store on Aug. 3.

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