I live in a zoo

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When life happens

by Lisa Bingham –

I admit it—we have too many animals at our house—the four-legged variety, I mean. First, there is the old cat from our kids’ childhood—they wanted a dog, but we didn’t have time or space for a dog, so they named the poor feline Lassie. She’s had an identity crisis ever since. Then a few years ago, we “inherited” another cat because—well, never mind. It was a sad story, but you’d only shake your heads. Anyway, we thought the old cat and the young kitten could play together. In truth, they tolerate one another, when they aren’t fighting. Making “fur fly” is not just an expression. I could make sweaters.

But there’s more…When my daughter went out into the world a few years back, she adopted a little white dog from the pound in a moment of tender-hearted lunacy. Darling creature—irresistible really. Sure, you can bring her over for a visit, sweetie.

Three years later, my daughter cannot have a dog in her apartment. So we have temporary custody of Eleanor (as in Rigby), the little white dog with the lame left foreleg. Fortunately, she is a cute little thing; I like dogs, and my husband is a tolerant man. I have had to sign a notarized contract for him, however, that we will have NO MORE PETS when these are gone.

Okay sure, the animals are a pain in the neck sometimes. Well, every day actually, when they need feeding, brushing, taking out, and cleaning up after. Then there are flea treatments, shots, and trips to the vet. And please, let’s not talk about dog hair, cat hair or trying to go on vacation.

But there is a silver lining. The dog, at least, loves us unconditionally. That’s a gift. And my 90-year old mom who lives with us adores the animals. They say pets improve the quality of life in the elderly. They are right. My mom dances with the little lame dog every day. One of the cats is “her cat” because he loves cuddling and being petted for long periods of time. My mom happily obliges him. *

And so when I’m chasing dust bunnies made of cat and dog hair, or cleaning out the litter box, I listen to my mom talking to a cat or the dog. I watch her smile and laugh and find myself very grateful that for the time being, she has these sources of daily entertainment from the four-legged members of God’s kingdom. Of course, Gordon and I try to be entertaining too, but we often fail by comparison.

Bottom line: When life happens, God has a sense of humor; it helps if you have one too.

* Since first writing this, I have found a wonderful home for one of the cats. We still live in a zoo, but I can’t blame it all on the animals.

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