My mother raised animals in much the same way she raised children: by allowing them to have everything they want, not giving them limitations, and then smiling charmingly when one of them peed on the couch. I craved the curfews that my friends had and even thought being grounded sounded pretty good — or at least like you were like kids were in movies.
With the animals, she didn’t believe in leashes or take cats with cancer to the vet (she was convinced they lived a whole lot longer that way — it turned out to be true in at least one case). She gave them enough dinner scraps to make them pretty much wholly disdainful of their food whenever they were forced to eat it.
But the greatest gift she bequeathed on them had to be their names. In addition to Greta (a German Shepard), Xanadu (a Basset Hound-Saint Bernard mix) and Yuppie Puppy (a straight up Basset Hound), there were the Golden Retrievers Malo and Bueno, the cat Hard Licker (he gave more kisses than a girl sitting at a kissing booth in a fair) and her dog du jour, a Bulldog named Guapo. Just so you fully get how nuts Mom is for the animals, I should probably mention the chickens (Over, Easy, Chantal, and oh so many others — those chickens didn’t live long, but oh they lived well…though no dinner scraps for them.)
The whole lack of discipline thing has only really become a problem with the current animals. Guapo is a sweetheart to anyone who truly knows him but there have been enough incidents between Guapo and various delivery men (Mom claims Guapo only antagonizes “wimpy men” because he doesn’t respect them) for him to have been officially quarantined for a while. I’m convinced that the only reason Mom got Baylo, a Newfoundland who’s easily double Mom’s weight, is to make Guapo look good in comparison (Baylo means well but it’s simply not terribly enjoyable to be knocked over and kissed by an untrained 200-pound furball who’s convinced you’re going to love him now matter how well he means).
I’m not sure what she’ll have to get to make Baylo seem like he’s not that bad, but I’m guessing it will have to be from the bear family.
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