We don’t have any pets. Not officially.
I’ve never understood a dog being a man’s best friend. Well not this man. I choose my friends very carefully, and a prerequisite is that they don’t need walking, feeding, or cleaning up after.
OK, so there’s one exception to the rule but how was I to know he’d develop a drink problem when we first met at primary school?
Besides, I have two toddlers who tick all these boxes, why would I add a canine to the chaos?
Then there was the curious incident of the cat in the night. A friends cat. A friends cat I wasn’t even supposed to be looking after. I took a phone call from the pet-sitter saying the cat had been run over and she needed my help? Why me? When did I become the turn to guy for dead pets?
Don’t worry, he wasn’t really dead … not yet. I discovered this whilst cradling him in my arms. As I put him into his makeshift cardboard coffin he returned from the grave, hissed, and took a swipe at my face. See, the feeling between animals and I is mutual.
With the cats owner away at a wedding for the night, and without a phone signal, I found myself at an emergency vets being given two options. Exploratory surgery for a ridiculously hefty price, or to be put down for a far more reasonable £60.
How had this become my decision?
He was very old, so the vet told me. He *probably wouldn’t survive surgery, he said.
(*he may have said possibly).
I had £60 cash on me, but that’s by the by.
Anyway, suffice to say it was a very awkward and difficult phone-call the following morning. I mean, how do you tell your friend he owes you £60? Oh, and that you’ve also killed his cat, obviously.
What I’m trying to say is I don’t have room in my life for a pet, neither physically nor mentally. Luca on the other hand feels otherwise.
We’ve had a few ‘guests’ stay with us recently.
Frank was our first. Frank the fly. Now I’m pretty good at tea-towel whipping a fly into submission, save for a few pieces of crockery. I’ve even been known to take one out with a pair of chopsticks. Granted it may have looked remarkably like a raisin but how do you tell that to a three-year old who’s already bestowed upon you the title of ‘Ninja Daddy’?
The problem lies in keeping just the one fly in the house. Any more and they will be adopted, any less and you’re the monster who killed his friend.
Last week Luca took pity on a snail. Apparently he had concerns over the guttering on its shell or some such nonsense and needed sheltering from the storm. Sally (the snail) spent the day in our kitchen. By late afternoon I’d persuaded Luca to return him to the doorstep so he could go home for his tea. I *may have suggested we’d see him again soon. (*I did)
My smugness lasted until the following morning when Luca raced downstairs to open the front door. No snail. Judging by the look on his face I may have mistaken the door shutting behind him for what was in fact his heart breaking. The TV remained on mute for most of the morning/mourning, because he was worried he’d not hear his best friend knock on the door. It was beyond tragic, I’ve never felt guilt like it.
Now here’s the thing. Have you ever tried finding a snail when you need one? I’m guessing probably not so let me tell you, it’s bloody impossible.
Anyway, eventually there came a soft knock on the door, and there he was, less his house. You see, a snail’s shell is little more than a caravan. You can travel without it. It was NOT a slug. What kind of crazy person do you take me for? What, you think I’d drop a slug on the doorstep before knocking and running? Shame on you!
This week we’ve had Caitlin the caterpillar, Jose (?) the spider, and today, may I introduce you to Wayne. He’s a wasp. Yep, Luca has befriended a wasp, or rather bebestfriended a wasp.
This morning I found myself whispering to Wayne, asking him to leave. I swear he growled at me! OK, so it’s not a particularly aggressive wasp but then why would it be, Luca has given him my bloody sofa! I’ve already found him testing out the comfort of my pillow. I even caught him reading my paper.
He clearly has no intention of going anywhere so I’ve decided enough is enough. Tomorrow I will be serving him his notice. Three days. Three days for him to leave of his own accord or be forcibly evicted.
How will I break the news to Luca? Well, obviously I won’t, such is the coward that I am. Wayne will. In fact, he’s already written a goodbye letter!