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Every home we’ve ever lived in eventually became a menagerie of dogs, cats, birds, hedgehogs and more. We even had two Peking ducks once.
But there are never enough pets for my wife. The Joy of My Life now wants to get a sugar glider and a dragon lizard. I feel certain she’s searching online for a giraffe to rescue as well, but fortunately, our manufactured home did not come with cathedral ceilings.
Now I hate to be the buzzkill when it comes to our furry, feathery or long-necked friends, but who inevitably gets strapped with the related duties? Who feeds and waters the little critters, empties the litter boxes, walks the dogs and scoops their waste into little plastic poo bags?
If your household is like ours, it’s the husbands, while the wife-owners merely pet and stroke and speak baby talk to them.
Recently, Joy brought home a small cage.
“What’s in that cage?” I asked with trepidation.
“Robin (Joy’s sister) got it for me. It’s a canary,” she chirps.
“What on earth do we need a canary for? We already have two smoke detectors!” I crow.
“I’m keeping him. His name is Johnny!” she twitters.
“Good! Then this is one animal YOU are responsible for. I’m not feeding him; I’m not giving him water!” At that point, I fluff up my feathers, flashing prominent color patches on my crest to express my irritation.
Last week I heard a crash in another room. I rushed to the kitchen to confirm my worst fear. Our newest cat Jake, who spends his waking hours mesmerized by the bird, had knocked the cage to the floor.
The bird rode it down and was safe. I pieced the cage back together and swept up the seeds, which were scattered everywhere. Then I washed and filled the little food, water, and gravel dishes.
Little did I know it was just a training run.
Joy just had knee replacement surgery, and needless to say, I am taking care of Johnny in addition to all the other pets. Perfect timing on her part, I say. By the time she recovers fully, I will be firmly established as the caretaker of all the pets, including the canary.
Now, whenever I enter the kitchen, I swear the cat taunts me by meowing, “Here’s Johnny!” He and the canary give each other a wink and a nod, then glare at me with their furry/feathery little faces as they wait for me to prepare their food.
Michael Wright can be found absorbed in the book When Life is a Zoo, God Still Loves You. Email him at email@example.com.