Mommy Wants Vodka

…Or A Mail-Order Bride

And The Zoo Keeper Is Very Fond Of Rum


The love I have for animals often rivals that of the Crazy Cat Lady, so fond am I of the wee ickle beasties. When I was a small child–perhaps a bit older than Alex–I used to dress in my baby clothes, not dolls, but my kitten, Biscuit. Biscuit was as dumb as a box of rocks but had the wherewithal to occasionally protest in the form of some claw marks to my body. Why, I still have those scars today!

It appears as though her legacy lives on.

As a child, I regularly petitioned my parents to add to our happy home any number of small animals, and was nearly always denied.

But the moment that I moved out on my own (with The Daver), his love of animals amplified my own, and before either of us realized it, we’d built ourselves a menagerie of wee beasties.

After adopting two older cats (as the kittens are far more adoptable AND far more annoying than older cats) to add to our one cat home, we adopted an older dog. Then we adopted a geriatric gecko. For my birthday, I was gifted (at my own request) a hedgehog, and several weeks before Alex was born, we adopted an older rabbit. In my post-miscarriage haze, I foolishly agreed to a puppy, and I have wild plans for a future of salt water fish tanks. Multiple ones.

Although the many animals can be overwhelming and occasionally annoying, as at the moment that I’m typing this, I’m surrounded by two cats (who hate each other but love me so thoroughly that it doesn’t matter), my houseplant (read: dog) Cash, and Auggie (el puppy) is lounging nearby, I love it. Our house is full of love, light and complete chaos, but it works for us, unless we foolishly need to go out of town for something. Then we’re screwed.

Why am I waxing poetic about my animals, who have made me the official Mayor of Poo-Town?

Because, no matter how much I feel I love, and more importantly, care for my wee beasties, I’m starting to feel like it’s NOT ENOUGH.

It started innocently enough when we began to take Cash to the groomer at our local pet store. He’s the type of dog with a thick undercoat, so the minute the seasons change around here, the floors in my home begin to swirl with mountains of fluffy dog hair. And because I am completely lazy and don’t wish to clean my tub afterwards, I am happy to pay someone else to remove said fur.

Appointments were made, proof of current vaccinations were faxed and we showed up with Cash in tow.

Having adopted him as a 6 year old mutt from the pound, Dave and I looked at each other quizzically when asked what he was like when he was groomed. No idea whatsoever.

We dropped him off and went about our day.

I generously let Dave (read: insisted) that he go pick up the dog alone, and when he returned, he thrust a stack of papers into my hands (this is a fairly common occurrence in my home; I get handed stacks of papers constantly. Seriously). Among the receipts and the invoices, I noticed something strange.

At first, I was convinced I’d accidentally gotten some of Ben’s paperwork in my pile. But upon closer inspection, I realized that no, no in fact, this was from the groomer. The groomer had painstakingly filled out A REPORT CARD FOR MY DOG. Who was, according to this report that I totally wish I’d saved to show The Internet, a “great boy” who “loved to give kisses.”

I, being his owner, knew these things to be true and immediately felt sorry that the groomer had been required by his employer to fill this out. I mean, I don’t get daily report cards from BEN, who is in real SCHOOL.

But then I felt guilty laughing at the whole notion of an A++ doggie report card. Because I knew full well that if people hadn’t WANTED to know how their dog had behaved while out of their care, it wouldn’t exist.

(as a total aside, I would, of course, WANT to know if my dog had behaved badly. Biting, snarling, being a general asshole are things I WOULD have wanted to know, had this been the case)

Then, upon wandering around the pet store with my freshly cleaned, non-stinky, bandana-ed dog, several days later I realized why I’d been feeling so inadequate. While I was obviously a frequenter of the pet store, I’d been buying a stock supply of the bare necessities for my beasties and nothing more.

While my cats had proper food, it wasn’t the top of the line (read: $100 a bag), nor did they have any amount of themed toys or festive collars. I didn’t even own a jaunty cat carrier! Mine was a boring beige plastic!

My dogs had collars, of course, but not leather, or designer in the slightest. Cash had a Purple one, Auggie had a blue one. Neither had any embellishments or accessories attached. Hell, their leashes didn’t even match the collars! And forget about expensive soaps or treatments for my doggie’s sensitive skin! I had nothing of the sort. Nor did even my mini pooch have any clothes to wear! He was NAKED for all the world to see! AUGGIE’S WEENIS, EXPOSED TO THE WORLD!

My gecko did have a mini-Statue of Liberty in his cage, something I found particularly hilarious, but he seemed to ignore that in favor of the fake hunk of wood that he could hide behind. And forget about any real cage amenities for Robes Pierre (may he rest in peace), no, I used regular lizard sand.

No, I walked out of that store, having my eyes opened for the first time as to how much further I could push my animal obsession. And how much further other people did do so regularly. And with gusto.

It didn’t seem to matter to my guilt-ridden head how much MORE I did for animals that weren’t even my own. No matter how many cats I fostered only to find good homes for, no matter how many animals I adopted rather than purchased, no matter how many piles of puke I cleaned up only to find another three feet away, it would never compare to what I could do.

I sighed deeply and reminded myself that even though I can’t boast a designer animal, at least I don’t have SUCKER written on my forehead.

Besides, I don’t even buy fancy shampoo for myself.

37 Comments to

“And The Zoo Keeper Is Very Fond Of Rum”

  1. On October 14th, 2008 at 1:43 pm Ginger Magnolia Says:

    I can’t take my kids into those kinds of stores. They think our dog needs one of everything, plus the extra special treats, too. Gah.

    And you had a pet named Robes Pierre? I think I love you, Aunt Becky.

  2. On October 14th, 2008 at 2:01 pm baseballmom Says:

    Oh my god, you kill me. I just went to the pet store the other day, with Alex, to get a new collar for Candy (or Candace Huevas as we call her). I could not believe the crap that is available for pets…it was like going to Babies R Us or something…disgusting! Do people really have that much extra money to throw away? Alex wanted a pink shiny leather collar with rhinestones for Candy, but I said hell-to-the-no. If you ever watched greatest american dog, that lady with ‘Bella Starlet’ who dressed her dog in clothes and put beads in her fur made me SICK!!! Love and cleaning up the puke and poop are enough, in my opinion! When I saw the refrigerated food for dogs at the store, I thought, “Now it’s gone too far!”

  3. On October 14th, 2008 at 2:05 pm kate Says:

    Oy. So this post proves what I’ve long feared: that my animal-obsessed 8yo daughter is never going to out-grow this need to hoard – or “rescue, if you prefer 🙂 – animals. I tease her that she’s going to be one of those old women who live in an abandoned school bus with 432 dogs, 864 cats and several small woodland animals. She’s going to grow up to be YOU! Aaaggghh! *snort!*

    But yes, you could take it further…at least you don’t throw birthday parties for your dogs, complete with party hats and gourmet doggy-birthday cakes like someone I know does.

    Do you??

    PS. Jealous of the hedgehog. I love them.

  4. On October 14th, 2008 at 2:07 pm Em Says:

    Just say NO to the salt water tank. No one loves animals THAT much!!! We tried. Oh, how we tried.

    It’s how the Oldest really learned about the “circle of life” and how “all drains lead to the ocean.”

    Thanks Disney.


  5. On October 14th, 2008 at 2:23 pm Amy Says:

    If I wasn’t deathly allergic to animals of all types, I would have a ton of them. In fact, there are days when I think about saving a bunch of them despite my allergies, but I know my husband would probably kill me if I did.

  6. On October 14th, 2008 at 2:28 pm Joann Says:

    Oh I so agree with you. I can’t beleive
    the stuff they have @ our Pet-Smart for

  7. On October 14th, 2008 at 2:34 pm Mrs.Spit Says:

    Sigh. Just bought the new felines collars. (Fair warning for the dogs, and it makes it easier to find them). Paid 8 bucks a collar. No rinestones, no flowers or embroidery, just real nylon, with a cheap bell and a quick release. . . .

    Still can’t believe it. The mutt’s at Chez Spit get ground chicken. With veggies. No kibble. Cheaper and easier. Sometimes I even thaw it out before I give it to them!

  8. On October 14th, 2008 at 2:43 pm Tony Says:

    I hate designer animals. Particularly the fad where in they cross anything with a poodle (read, they make a mutt) and some freak with too much money drops $2000 for it. They have Cocka-poos, and beagle-poos (I wait patiently for the Shih Tzu – poodle cross). That one I might just buy.

    Of course, my mother had 5 poodles (why I moved out) and that will turn anyone into a one-cat person.

  9. On October 14th, 2008 at 2:46 pm guilty noodles Says:

    When we adopted our dog, Bowie last week, my husband sent me out to purchase as many chew toys as possible. He was terribly afraid the dog would consume any of his precious pieces of furniture. I came home with a number of toys that resembled far too much like sex toys and $60 less in my pocket. Within 45 minutes of Bowie arriving in our house, he had turned the plush chipmunk into roadkill and spread bits and pieces of it throughout the house.

    The most expensive toy I purchased? Bowie won’t go near it.

  10. On October 14th, 2008 at 3:12 pm Daddy Files Says:

    When we adopted our first dog we had EVERYTHING. All the toys you could imagine, a dog bed from IKEA, fancy bowls and a novelty collar and foofy leash.

    Now we’re on our third dog. They have two plastic bowls, some generic collars and the only thing we splurge on is all organic dog food because our Golden is allergic to regular dog food.

    And yes, there is always vomit/piss/shit to pick up. And on the particularly fun days when they’ve eaten something like a shoelace or bubblegum, you get to really test your love for your pets when you’re pulling things out of their asshole by hand (with a rubber glove of course).

    And after you yank whatever obstacle it is this time out of their butt and start wondering why the hell you have a dog in the first place, they come up to you and lick your face to say thanks. And dammit, that tides you over until the next horrific thing they do.

    Such is the fate of those of us cursed with unconditional doggie love.

    Cats, however, can go fuck themselves. Wretched little snotty felines are the worst!!

  11. On October 14th, 2008 at 3:15 pm The Mommy Says:

    At least most people buy toys and accessories for their OWN dogs. My boys insist that we buy toys and such for the neighbor’s dog (probably because we don’t have one of our own) and they just LOVE her! Little Bean is one of those fancy poodle mixes (she’s half Yorkie and half poodle so Yorkapoo?). I may have perpetuated this little obsession by baking her homemade doggie biscuits last year for Halloween. I kinda like dogs, too, but my rule is that we won’t get one until the last kid is potty-trained. I’m only cleaning up one set of excrement at a time!

  12. On October 14th, 2008 at 3:20 pm Lola Says:

    I, like you, have been a freak for animals since I was able to point to one and be told that it was a kitty. My first word – NO. Second word – KITTY. I lucked out when I got to come live on a farm, as there was no end to taking in cats, dogs, horses, cows, pigs, you name it. I even had a donkey or two. Nobody told me no, so it was a free-for-all.

    Now that I have to feed, groom, pay vet bills and clean up after the animals, I’ve got it down to two cats and two dogs. Although, I did just see a little beagle at a local shelter that is calling my name.

    I don’t buy clothes for my animals or fancy collars. You wouldn’t see them anyway. No fancy dog beds, cuz they sleep on mine. I do buy a lot of toys and spend a ton on training them in agility. A busy Aussie is a good Aussie.

    Oh, and as for the fish, just say NOOOO. I just flushed our last fish, and I’m not going to do it again, no way. It turns out that if you don’t clean the tank regularly they can’t breathe or something. Who knew?

  13. On October 14th, 2008 at 3:41 pm giggleblue Says:

    i thought i was the only one that had to pick things out of my dog’s ass on walks.

    he insists on no only demolishing his chew string bone, but then also eating the resulting strings. and since cotton doesn’t break down in the digestive track so well, he always is left with this little dingle things out of his butt. and of course, someone has to help him get them off.

    and because petsmart doesn’t know the definition of “shave him as close as possible” taking him there is always a waste of 30 bucks because his hair grows faster than the grass on that chia pet in the commercials.

    how we love our pets so!

  14. On October 14th, 2008 at 3:51 pm Queen-sized funny bone Says:

    I went to the pet store the other day and they already have an entire Beverly Hills Chihuahua line of products. shampoo, soap, cologne, clothing. unbelievable.

  15. On October 14th, 2008 at 4:40 pm Karen Says:

    I sort of realized recently that pets are like kids to me. They are super amazing and awesome when they belong to YOU, but if they belonged to me, I would go crazy.

    I need help taking care of myself, let alone a creature.

    Thank God for people like you.

  16. On October 14th, 2008 at 5:19 pm Tiffany @ My Random Wisdom Says:

    I would be a zoo keeper too..except the husband is not an animal person…*sigh*
    I used to dress up my cats too when I was a kid..nothing quite as humiliating as a tom-cat in a frilly baby doll dress!
    and we also dressed our miniature poodle in doll clothes and pushed her in a cabbage patch kid umbrella stroller..heh..and she let us..god it was way too fun..
    we have pictures of that!
    I have also had pet mice, way frikkin cool..(and when they crawl into a shirt can answer the question ‘what-do you have a mouse in your pocket w/ a resounding YES, I do!)
    we rescued a tree frog when I worked at Lowes..he was adorable…
    and the hubby has an aquarium..

    and the kids tried to out a shirt on the dog once, and he looked down right PISSED off…hehe..

    I am NOT into pampering my pet more than me.
    and I DO buy the good shampoo!

  17. On October 14th, 2008 at 5:21 pm foradifferentkindofgirl (fadkog) Says:

    My kids have so many toys between the two of them that I fear bringing an animal into the mix and falling prey to all that would be available to them (which is exactly what happened to me when I brought the human beasts inside) would run me completely out of my house!

  18. On October 14th, 2008 at 5:54 pm ewe_are_here Says:

    We don’t currently have any pets, although someday we’ll have cats again I suspect…

    But I’ve always kind of wanted a hedgehog for the garden. People do that over here, you know. 🙂

  19. On October 14th, 2008 at 5:58 pm Nissa Says:

    Don’t feel bad, my animals live better then we do around my house!

  20. On October 14th, 2008 at 7:14 pm Fancy Says:

    Oh, please take the puking away. If it’s not a cat, it’s the dog. Do they ever find a discreet place to put it? NO! It is always going to be in the middle of a doorway where you least expect it, probably when it is dark and you are barefoot. Cause nothing says loving like your pet’s vomit squishing in between your toes in the middle of the night. Especially when all you’d really like to do is go to the bathroom and go right back to bed, and now you get to sit on the edge of the tub and clean your feet off with soap and hot water.

  21. On October 14th, 2008 at 7:22 pm Edward Says:

    O.k. I think you have lost your mind my sweet preggo lady. It must be the estrogen making you want to nurture more….just wait for the baby. Have you noticed that the economy is bad? You do well by your pets…your a good pet mommy…just wait to spend on the baby if you can hold out lol!

  22. On October 14th, 2008 at 7:38 pm kate Says:

    gah. i miss my dogs. i’m currently petless. a state i’ve not been in since i was…no, never. never before now. *sniff*

  23. On October 14th, 2008 at 8:04 pm Lainey-Paney Says:


  24. On October 14th, 2008 at 8:06 pm Holli Says:

    I’ve got three dogs, and I’m working on getting a fourth (convincing the husband!). I love my dogs. All of my animals have been rescues (including my pot belly pig!).
    After reading the other comments I feel lucky. My dogs never go to the bathroom in the house. They are really, really good about that.

    I’m a fanatic about how my house smells. I never want it to smell like wet dog (you know what I’m talking about). I take my dogs to get groomed regularly. It never fails, as soon as my one dog gets a bath the first thing she does is find a pile of shit and rolls it it. E V E R Y T I M E!

  25. On October 14th, 2008 at 8:09 pm Holli Says:

    I’m also embarrased to tell you that my dogs have their own drawer full of cloths and collars. (In my defense- it’s accumulated through the years!)

  26. On October 14th, 2008 at 9:27 pm Natalie Says:

    I banned myself from pet stores for that very reason. Way too many ideas in there. Mostly involving spending money I did not intend to spend. (Though I do already buy too-expensive food for all my furry butts.)

    And if my furry butts weren’t pissing me off so much lately I may even want another one.

  27. On October 14th, 2008 at 9:36 pm Lynanne Says:

    Just wait until your kids are grown – the animals and their stuff multiply 🙂

  28. On October 15th, 2008 at 12:56 am Shay Says:

    I’m impressed that you even have a cat carrier. Until last year I was anti-pet. Even a week before we adopted Bree I was all “no way. I’d rather have another baby than a dog!”
    NEVER say never!
    I love my pooch AND i’m finding myself thinking we might need a couple of cats and perhaps another dog… What happened to me?

    Oh and I can’t leave those stores without looking at the fancy stuff. Lucky for me my pooch is pretty country and would destroy cute toys/clothes faster than we could pay for them lol. I do like to look though…sigh!

  29. On October 15th, 2008 at 1:58 am Sara Says:

    Being an animal lover and pet owner, I can FEEL the love for this post in the comments. We can’t admit it to the rest of the world, but they aren’t our PETS they are part of the family. The two cats I have are just like spoiled children, demanding they get their way all the time.
    I do think the pet products have gotten out of hand though. Pearl Necklaces and Dress Shoes for dogs are just a bit much. What next? Dog makeup? I have already seen body sprays for dogs.

    -Sara, World Zoo Today

  30. On October 15th, 2008 at 6:44 am Melissa Says:

    Oh Aunt Becky… I feel your pain!

    My DH is not much of a pet person either and we have a tiny house, so we only have a cat, 2 leopard geckos, and a 90 gallon fish tank. I keep hinting at getting some dogs and more cats (maybe a couple of birds… ooh… and another rat like I used to have… and my ferret was a sweet gal… and)… but I get the evil eye from hubby at the mere mention!

    As for the “stuff”… the fanciest thing we’ve ever bought was a waterdish with a little waterfall built in! It’s a cool toy, but it was practical: the cat actually drinks from his bowl now instead of the toilet (he loves the moving water… what can I say!) Otherwise, he gets a pinch of catnip in a paper bag and a ball of tin foil to bat around. Fun times. And yes, early morning hairballs left in our bedroom doorway.

  31. On October 15th, 2008 at 7:21 am Badass Geek Says:

    With the title of this entry, I picture you with a bottle of rum, laying back in a chair, while all the various zoo-type creatures that you own running around you. I dunno why.

  32. On October 15th, 2008 at 7:24 am heather Says:

    Ok, so I don’t have designer cats, but I do spend money on toys (cheap ones from the dollar store) and treats and catnip. The thing they love the most though is my husband’s laser pointer. They freakin recognize the sound the keychain makes when he pulls it out of his desk. It’s hilarious.

  33. On October 15th, 2008 at 8:19 am SCY Says:

    I think pet stores prey on the infertiles of the world, cos more often than not we have loads of animals that we lavish our love on and the designer stuff has to come into play 😉


  34. On October 15th, 2008 at 10:57 am Rachel Says:

    I AM the crazy cat lady. My daughter will tell you that she is going to be a vet simply to take care of my house full of cats in my old age. I currently have 4 of the arrogant beasts.

    I worked my way through college and grad school at a pet store. We’ve had fish, a gecko, a house-trained rabbit (Emmit the Beaster Bunny, rest his soul), a dog (my dad stole Margaret when his own 14 year old lab died), and an obese rat named Mr. Wiggles.

    All in all, I have to say I have now decided to stick with cats. They suit me, and they move fast enough to get away from Mr. Farty’s grasp.

  35. On October 15th, 2008 at 12:21 pm birdpress Says:

    I don’t mention a dog’s behavior unless it was something remarkable. Usually I will say, “Sparky was a good boy today!” if this was even remotely true (as in, he didn’t try to gnaw on my hand or chew my face or anything.) I try to gloss over any bad behavior, but if a dog bites (or attempts to) I will usually mention it, as nicely as possible. “Cujo doesn’t seem to like the dryer, so I made a note to be careful with him next time.”

    Anyway, if my employer made me fill out a report card on every dog, that’d get old fast! Nobody needs that. I guess I will never apply for a job at a Pet-something. (Which I already decided, for other reasons!)

  36. On October 15th, 2008 at 2:54 pm Susan Says:

    You are hysterical. Did you see the treat bars they have up front? Of course you did! They’re set up like salad bars or sushi bars…you suckas!!!

  37. On October 15th, 2008 at 4:28 pm Miss Grace Says:

    People do the same thing with their kids though.

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