Johnny, surly bastard, married a hot veterinarian and fell in love with animals. Their house is a petting zoo. A few months ago, someone brought a badly injured Chihuahua to the clinic. His leg was amputated and the hot veterinarian brought home the rehabilitating Captain Jack.
“The Captain has a new game where he grabs Giancarlo [editor’s note: the giant polydactyl cat] by the scruff of the neck and drags him up and down the hall. Incredibly, Giancarlo permits this and even seems to enjoy it. Sometimes Jack misses with his teeth and ends up grabbing Giancarlo by the face, in which case he gets a clout on the snout. He then uses his other new game. He’s learned that he can’t box Giancarlo, because when he lifts up both front legs, he of course falls down. So he lies on his side, the side with the leg, and goes at it with both front legs that way. The sight of his stump wiggling in the air is either totally hysterical or slightly sickening. Or both.”
This lends new meaning to “pick on someone your own size.”
“This is Maxfield, the patriarch of the cats. A lot of the others, the youngers, have never been outside, but he used to be an outdoor/indoor cat back in Methuen, and, though he got hit by a car the last time we let him out, he often tries to escape. Sometimes he does. Every time we expect to see a coyote go by burping up orange fur, but he always makes it home in one piece, although his fur is always matted, at which point we call him ‘Mats-field.'”
I try to keep up with my friends’ pets, which are invariably interesting characters. I talk to them often via answering machines. Sharkey has a snake named Scout. He used to have another one named Boo, but Boo bit the dust. Siobhan has the smallest cat in the world. There is no smaller adult cat. My mother has a giant cat Paulie Gonzalez found as a kitten wandering around in a blizzard. The three of us gave the shivering furball two baths before all the motor oil came off. They stood outside the bathtub. Paulie pressed his back against Mom’s less than sturdy bathroom door to prevent a jailbreak. I rolled up my sweats and climbed into the tub with the very upset kitty, who mewed piteously while I soaped him up and rinsed him off.
Mom: He’s got webbed feet for swimming and catching fish.
Tata: Mom, you’re thinking of bears.
Turns out Mom was right, and these giants do catch fish in the wild. Miss Sasha has three cats. My niece Lois has two cats, sister Anya has two cats, and Darla has about five. We used to have dogs, lots of dogs. Now we have purses full of Pet Me, Mommy! Trout has guinea pigs. Jazz and Georg’s house is an animal sanctuary. Dom has wacky roommates he finds sleeping on the stairs.
Consider adopting a pet from your local shelter. If you do not have furry friends, I hope someone’s licking your face.