Today call me peeved. As in pets. But not Pet Peeves.
(Like when people wait until the checker has rung up all their groceries before fumbling in their bags for a checkbook. And also people who write checks.)
No, I’m talking about actual pets. Who peeve.
(Although I hate the word peeve; but that’s a topic for another post.)
First to dispose of the double standard:
My dogs don’t actually peeve me. Sure they eat grass and puke—usually at midnight and always on a patch of rug or carpet; they drink water in great gulps, their wet chins dripping across the floor; their claws scratch the hardwoods and their fur decorates my furniture.
But I love them shamelessly. So.
Here’s our brand of dog discipline:
“Bailey. You aren’t supposed to sleep on the couch. Come here, sweet girl. Have a treat.”
“Bella. You aren’t supposed to eat garbage while I’m at the grocery store. Let me sweep these banana peels and coffee grounds from the floor while you rest up for the midnight vomit-fest.”
For best results, imagine my voice extra-gentle and love-filled. That’s how we reprimand Gardner-style.
So our kids and dogs run amok. Maybe.
But the true pets of my peeving (peeves of my petting?) are as follows:
Two Betta fish, A.K.A. Birthday Party-Favors Gone Awry. The hostess warned us they’d die before we received a thank-you note, but ours lasted three long years. They brought nothing to the table besides separate bowls—“or they’ll kill each other”—and oh yeah, a righteous stink. My children were too young to clean their environments, so the task fell to me, the one who didn’t get cake at the party. Eventually, Treasure and Flounder finned their way to that great underwater sandcastle in the sky; but only after I accidentally added sparkling water to their bowls one fine—I mean sad—day. (Sorry, PETA. It was an honest mistake. And their tails didn’t twitch when I flushed. Promise.)
Speedy, my son’s Gecko, should get his own post, he became that expensive. Purchased on sale at Petco for $25.00, Speedy was—at first blush—a bargain. But he ate costly mealworms. And also live crickets which required their own (refrigerated!) food. Then he developed an eating disorder—true story—so we bought him anorexia paste (who knew?) which Bella promptly scarfed. (Irony rules!) When Speedy didn’t plump, I took him to the animal clinic so I could tell Jack I tried everything! I told the vet, “No extreme measures,” and I may have winked at my bottle of sparkling water. I thought the doctor understood until he whisked Speedy away for biopsies, fecal smears, and X-rays to rule out lizard cancer. I laughed when the receptionist said I could write a check for the $365.00. Then I cried. Hard. Still, Speedy lived another year, which averaged out to a dollar a day to extend the life of an anorexic reptile now buried in our backyard. (Rest in peace, Speedy. And really? Food is tasty.)
Our still-living peeve-worthy pet is Oreo, my daughter’s long-haired guinea pig. Despite exhaustive pre-purchase research—if exhaustive means I was too tired to read—I didn’t realize his hair would just.keep.growing. Also, I didn’t realize Karly was incapable of trimming dreadlocks of crap-clumps on an “intact” male without clipping his genitalia. Therefore, twice a year, Oreo is professionally groomed at a cost that’s twice his initial price tag. At that rate, we could purchase two new guinea pigs twice a year. But Oreo is cute, he doesn’t like sparkling water, and he’s not anorexic. So.
You might be thinking this:
Get a cat.
But no. My husband cries, “allergies!” To which I respond, “Wimp!” (In my extra-gentle, love-filled voice.)
So we’re stuck with crap-clumps, a gecko grave, the lingering stench of overly-aggressive Betta fish, and two ill-behaved dogs who may or may not be peeing on my living room rug as I type.
Which means the only question left to ask is this:
Am I rightfully peeved or completely insane?
And also do you think a reputable pet therapist accepts checks?
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