Ever since I was a kid, I have been a big fan of pets. If there wasn’t some sort of four-legged critter following me around or trying to climb onto my lap, something just didn’t seem right. I wanted as any animals around me as possible. Someday, I thought, I would live in a place full of dogs, a home loaded with pets to share their love and affection with me.
That is why one of the first things my wife and I did when we got married was to find a dog. After looking long and hard for the perfect animal, we chose an animal for the same reason anyone does: it was cheap. A woman had a litter of miniature dachshunds that she was attempting to find homes for on Craigslist. A couple of emails later and we found ourselves in a nearly abandoned parking lot pulling up next to a mysterious car. We handed over the very reasonable sum of money and she, in turn, pulled a very tiny dog out of the car. In retrospect, it would have looked much like any drug deal I have ever seen on TV, the main difference being the adorable puppy that sat in place of a large bag of heroin.
For years, Charlie was our dog. After the death of my wife’s cat, we found ourselves with a single animal.
This, of course, did not last long.
A few months ago, my friend was talking about a tiny white kitten that he had rescued. The cat had been left in a lot nearby his house. It was a very good kitten and he was happy to take care of her except for one single fact: he is allergic to cats. When he said this, I did not press him on the details. I imagine that if he were to keep the cat, his entire body would have swelled up to double its original size. He probably would have just turned into a giant red blotch of hives. The point is that I had no choice but to take this cat and, in turn, save my friend’s life. I’m very selfless that way.
It took months for the cat and Charlie to become accustomed to each other. At first, the cat would gradually sneak up on Charlie just long enough to touch her with her paw. Then she would run away. After a while, she became braver. She would try to play with Charlie and, more than once, even attempted to sit directly on top of her. Charlie did not take kindly to this. Eventually, though, she just let it happen. They played together and a couple of times they even curled up on the couch together. And all was peaceful.
Then my wife offered to dog sit two standard dachshunds for a week. The two are good dogs as well. They, however, do not care for the cat. In turn, the cat does not care for them. Charlie is indifferent to all of it. That is why I have spent the last two days with a rotating carousel of three dogs attempting to sit directly on my lap and a cat hiding in the bedroom afraid that the hoard of dachshunds will come after her turn her into kitten cacciatore. There has been snarling and running and hissing and jumping and whimpering. We have kept the dog out of the cat food, the cat out of the dog food, Charlie out of the cat’s food and the other dog’s food, and all of them out of our food.
I’ve learned a very important lesson the last few days. There is such a thing as too many animals. In case you were curious, that would be four animals. Four animals is exactly too many animals.
As it turns out, some of your childhood dreams are very stupid even if they revolve around love and affection.