The other day I had a nice lunch in a food court in Brisbane. Considering the heading above, you’re probably wondering if I have peculiar tastes in food, but I’m digressing.
I had slices of pork, apple sauce, yummy potato bake, peas and carrot. Simple and easy but cooked by someone else, just great. The young lady asked if I wanted pork crackle (I knew she meant pork crackling but politely let it go) and I told her I couldn’t stand it. She was delighted to hear that as she hated it too and had met very few like us.
(I’ve learned something new. Fires crackle – that’s a verb – but apparently it’s also a noun, as crackle is the pattern of minute cracks on surfaces like paintwork or varnish. Or the surface on roasted pork)
So I’m one of possibly only few who dislike pork crackling but, to get back to the dogs at last, am I similarly one of few who don’t particularly want to have a pet?
I grew up in suburban Sydney in a large family and we had the occasional dog. One ran away (or was abducted) never to be seen again; little Trixie was in the wrong place at the wrong time vis-à-vis a car in our back yard. That was a sad time and devastating for younger family members.
My husband and I have had cats. The one in Papua New Guinea vanished one day and we were told, by a local, ‘the locals have eaten it’. Living in New Zealand I had a cat foisted on me by a husband-daughters conspiracy and had to leave it behind when we came back to Australia.
I’ve resisted having another pet for 25 years now despite pleas from animal-loving daughters. I always ended up being the one to look after them and I don’t want to. I just don’t.
Now, look what’s happened. A daughter has had two little dogs, Scout and Sage, for nearly 10 years, and my husband and I have valiantly looked after them from time to time when she’s been away, and we have surprised ourselves by enjoying having them here.
Sage recently became ill and all alone I braved the vet with a most reluctant patient, but all was well.
The fur-kids keep us warm on cold nights (but only if daughter-Mummy is absent), they respond so well to attention and scratches, and they sleep away the day if nothing’s happening. And when it’s time for a walk, they raise the roof until we’re on the move. One barks at birds and cats and lizards that threaten our premises, especially the kookaburra that dares to perch on the high power pole nearby. If Scout could only reach that bird!
But it’s not unlike grandparenting in general. Lovely to have them for a while, lovely to hand them back. I still don’t want to own one, cat or dog.
Are there many out there like me, really quite happy to go through life without a pet? Or is it something you can’t imagine doing, living without a pet?