Wednesday, November 12, 2008


It is possible I was raised by a curmudgeon … but we did have pets.

The first pet I remember is Heidi-ho, the cantankerous yet dispassionate dachshund. In all fairness, we met near the end of her life – and she probably had LOTS of reason to bite me, yet she never did. However, some of the neighbor children weren’t so lucky.

Then there was the succession (continuing until this day) of German Shorthair hunting dogs. Duke, Booper (don’t ask), Sheila, Stella, Sally, and the current day Annie (who is a mixed breed … ssshhh, don’t tell her).

Besides the hunting dogs, we also went through the unfortunate procreating guinea pig experience. I’d been begging my parents for a pet. I was involved in 4-H. Somehow that turned into two guinea pigs. I guess we ended up with them because you couldn’t raise sheep, cows, or pigs in town. (Although Lord knows Talla Palla has tried to convince OBMitter that baby pigs should be brought home on MANY a weekend jaunt.)

So – Jack and Jill went down the hill … to the Mitter household … where they begat, Salt and Pepper; And Eeny, Meeny, Miny, and Moe (I was not terribly creative in the naming department). And Peanut … and … seven other kin.

Although Jack and Jill – and Salt and Pepper were cute at first … they lost their charm, when they turned into 14 guinea pigs and it was winter. Feeding and watering a crowd outside in nearly freezing temperatures isn't very romantic or rewarding. (unless you count the unfrozen bodies)

And before you get all excited, I must explain to you OBMitter's philosophy. “Livestock” ie: animals with four legs, belong OUTSIDE. So says the man who contributed to my DNA and grew up on a ranch.

As a young child I did not understand the livestock rule … but decided that frostbitten hands were a bit much for rodents who were not very expressive.

SO … the guinea pigs were … sold. Some of them went to nice families … and some to the local college. (where I am sure they became experiments, but Talla Palla didn’t think about that until AFTER she sold them.)

The lucre purchased another dachshund – “Sundae”. (Because we bought her on a Sunday and she had a dark stripe down her back … like hot fudge on a Sundae.) She totally won over my Dad … or he was tired of listening to me wheel endlessly on her behalf, so eventually she came to live in the house. Her bed was in the kitchen. She was not allowed in near the dining room table at meals.

She was great – unitl Talla Palla went to work. Suddenly she wasn’t so great as an outside dog. She could escape from the six foot tall dog-pen where the hunting dogs stayed … and loved to eat the neighbor cat’s food when she made her great escapes.

From that time till now … I have been petless. My brother, Too Tall, started buying dogs as soon as he left home. Me? Never once have I been compelled to purchase a pet. And it has been good.

I have never had to worry about food for me; or food for a pet. I’ve never worried if my next living space would accommodate/welcome a pet. Nor had to face the death of a pet. Not to mention I have not had anything of mine chewed up, peed on, or shedded on by a pet. I sleep quite well through the night – and nothing wakes me up in the morning wanting attention or food. I travel frequently and never worry about who will feed/water/walk my pet.

I’ve always thought SOMEDAY … when I retire … or when I didn’t travel so much for work … I might consider a Bassett Hound. Something slow moving, unmotivated, lethargic with lots of character.

Then I acquired Rodanthe.

I wasn’t looking for a pet. I still travel a lot. I still don’t want to be responsible for another mouth. Apparently Rodanthe didn’t know this. I guess you can say I was adopted, instead of the other way around. I tried to discourage the attraction. I stopped feeding Rodanthe the chocolate he/she/it clearly craved. I didn’t leave any food out. When I’d see Rodanthe I’d clap my hands and and say “sppppshshhh” (like I do when those presumptuous cats show up on my porch/deck/car).

Rodanthe just stared at me when we came eye to eye. He/she/it never backed down. Just blink, blink, blink of those big black eyes.

I wasn’t sure just taking away the chocolate was enough to discourage the attraction. Two weekends ago – when I had company for dinner, I knew it was more than the chocolate between us. Although Rodanthe is a bit shy … he/she/it met my guests.

I’m not sure how long this will last … but since nothing else has been chewed/consumed by Rodanthe I chose to believe we’ve come to an agreement. He/she/it will be the perfect pet, requiring nothing from me – and I’ll continue to let him/her/it live under my dishwasher.


I H8 24 said...

I thought maybe this was what your pet would be. Too cute! There was a little creature out in the gin that would go into Wayne's booth and he would feed it from his lunch box and give it Dr. Pepper. We fondly call him "Mr. Jangles" (like in "The Green Mile"). He is a big attraction at the gin!! They could be cousins for all we know! Congrats on being a pet owner, and to Rodanthe, you have a great mom!!!

mamie said...

That's great! Enjoyed the story and very happy to be reading a daily post from you.

Anonymous said...

Wow...I never thought I'd see the day when you'd actually allow an animal to reside in your home. Let me know if you ever need us to watch Rodanthe for you! We can keep her/him/it at our place. Although, our kids might try to eat Rodanthe. That would probably not be a good thing.

Post more pictures of Miss/Mister R!!


Anonymous said...

I don't believe it - you allow a RAT in your house ??? You who jumps ceiling high when a roach walks across your floor ???? tp