Tobe Frank: I thought we were done with pets


To be frank I’ve always been an animal lover… no, not in the physical sense you sick puppies – in a strictly platonic sense. But I did think my days of having my feet warmed by fury companions were coming to and end, rather than a fresh beginning.

As you can probably guess, we bought a dog.  Well, in fact if I’m honest, we went to the shops to buy deodorant, butter, a cucumber and a present for one of the grandkids birthdays (the only four things on the list), and came home with a dog (and about 50 other things that apparently come hand in hand with a dog but weren’t on the list).  And no, the dog wasn’t for the grandchild.

The missus and I had always loved walking past the pet shop, but never had there been more than a five second passing thought about bringin’ home a mutt.  But this time one of the little buggers, a bitzer at best, put on his biggest puppy dog eyes and proceeded to pull off the all-time biggest sales job on the missus, who in turn pulled off the biggest emotional resale on me.

I couldn’t believe it. We were probably two to three years, tops, away from being a pet free family, with our cat being on the wrong side of 14, and now here we were, staring down at another however many years a dog lives for!  I simply can’t believe it.  Just as we’re about to embark on our regular ‘lock-the-door-and-leave’ nomad adventures too.  Well, I guess I’ll be researching pet-friendly van parks!  Either that or I’ll be pulling a few favours with my kids (and their dog-fearing children).

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The missus and I have had cats since before we were married.  Our first cat came off second best in a scuffle with a Bridgestone.  Our second cat was purchased inside two weeks of returning home from our honeymoon… clearly I was done with and a new toy was needed.  And our third came when the young-un’s were just old enough to appreciate (and not strangle to death) the joy of a ball-of-fuzz kitten.  We use to love throwing a Ping-Pong balls down the corridor of our little workers’ cottage, and watching the little blighters struggle to get traction with their padded paws on the polished floor boards.  Eventually they’d work up a bit of speed and try and swipe at the bouncing ball but would inevitably work out far too late that the brakes needed to be applied before slamming into the door at the end of the corridor.

The problem with cats though is that as they get older, they start to take messages and don’t get back to you until many hours or days later.  They end up being like more like our twenty-something son… you know, they drop in every now and then, expect to be fed, drop their shit everywhere (in the cat’s case, shit and hair… actually no, that’s my son too!) manage a few grunts and then depart as quickly and with as much notice as their arrival.

You call a dog on the other hand and he’ll come to heel… at least they’re supposed to.  My little bugger is a dasher!  On a couple of occasions he’s got out the front gate and bolted like an ironworker on the Harbour Bridge!  It’s like he thinks there’s a hot meal and a warm lap in front of the TV somewhere else down the road.   Eventually I hunt him down and drag him back to the house by his collar.

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He also likes burying things… just not in the garden.  He prefers to entomb his prey – chicken necks, pig ears and other bits of chewed up plastic from god knows what – in the two-inch shag-pile rug.  He also loves ripping the entrails and, quite scarily, the eyes out of any stuffed toy he can get teeth into.  The grandchildren have learnt very quickly to not leave their toys lying around on the floor.  The poor rug is so far removed from the once fluffy/silky plush pile it once was and now resembles a dreadlocked killing ground!

Ah, but he just looks up at us, blinks the same puppy dog eyes that made him ours in the first instance and gets picked up, cuddled, patted, stroked and spoilt rotten by the missus.

Wish I were a dog sometimes…

Have you got a pet recently? Was it planned or spontaneous? Tell us about them in the comments below…