Dragonfly
When I was growing up, we had animals, like a neighborhood zoo of epic proportions. There were horses, dogs, cats, birds, guinea pigs, iguanas, hamsters, etc. At different points, there was a snake, a rat, and a squirrel. My mother hand-raised an orphaned cow. My sisters had lambs and chickens for FFA. It was the quintessential barnyard. The two things all of these critters had in common were – my mother & the fact that they all grew bigger than they were supposed to be. Mom wasn’t going around feeding everyone miracle growth hormones. At least I don’t think so. She just seemed to love them into being bigger. Example: My sisters set out to raise chickens for FFA. They were normal little chicks. Mom helped feed them. By the time they were full grown, they were small turkeys. We had 10 lb. chickens in our freezer for months. I had to plan dinner parties just to have an excuse to cook them. Little Orphan Baby Heifer? Grew up to be Honkin’ Big Godzilla Heifer. Even our Cocker Spaniel made his sisters and brothers look like midgets. If my mom loved on them, they grew, and grew, and grew.

I always worried that I would somehow gain Mom’s growth witchery and have a house and yard full of oversized beasts. It’s with relief I admit I didn’t gain that particular gem from her. All of my animals are of normal size and stature. They are all, however, raving lunatics. Not a one of them is normal, psychologically. I sometimes wonder what this says about me…

My horse believes she is a pop diva from the Valley. Personally, I think this comes from her Warmblood side. If she could talk, she’d say things like, ‘Duh!’ and ‘Like, what-EVER’. She thinks I’m her personal assistant and bodyguard all wrapped up in one. Keeping her safe from the giant green dragon in the yard (tractor) is my JOB and, damn it, I better get out my sword and save her! She flips her hair and flaps her lips at me. She’s been known to throw buckets if her food is not delivered quickly enough. If the hay is not up to her standards, she doesn’t just refuse it; she throws it back over the fence! The princess even believes she has musical abilities and, if she’s bored and craves attention, will break out the drums at two in the morning. Ever see a horse climb halfway atop an overturned stock tank and bang with her hooves? I wish I could say No. Bottom line… the horse – she is Not. Normal. And she eats my roses!

We have two Mini-Aussies. They are essentially cats in dog clothing. On a daily basis, I am presented with their “gifts”. In the past two months we have had 12 mice and 4 moles presented to us. This past summer was a record year with 6 snake catches and their personal favorite, a squirrel (they did not kill it, just caught it and ran around like lunatics with it). Perhaps they think they are paying rent? A few weeks ago, I read a news blurb about a bunch of Russian black squirrels who banded together to attack and kill a dog that routinely chased their kind up trees. I’m concerned. The critters on our property are probably in some secret burrow, planning their counter-offense against these dogs. One morning, I will wake up and find a rag-tag army of mice and squirrels hunkered down in trenches dug by the moles. They will commence with rapid-firing acorns and stolen bits of corn at these pups and hopefully, before they yell “Charge!” I will be able to rescue the little buggers from certain death by rodent.

My cat can be described in one word. Psychotic. She was a wee scrap of a thing when she was given to me - the runt of the litter. She liked to cuddle up in my neck and nest beneath my hair, her tiny little engine revving like a muscle car. Her lithe little tortoise-shell body bounded with the spring of youth. She was mein Schatzi. Then she came in heat and subjected us to kitty porn – yowling that would curdle your blood, the dragging of her kitty carcass across the carpet in “please give me kitty sex now before I die” hormonal distress, and the sticking of kitty parts in our face. It was too much. We had her spayed, like responsible parents.

What came home has a special card on file at the vet’s that states in bold permanent marker: BEWARE! FRACTIOUS. She is no longer sweet or adorable. She is, at best, bi-polar. I am convinced that the vets body-snatched my kitty and replaced her with devil spawn. She trains like a demon for the Kitty 500. Every morning. At 3 a.m. Her meow wails like a siren while she speeds through the house at 240 mph and, defying gravity, runs up walls to literally bounce off the ceiling. One would think with all of this exercise, she’d be a cat worthy of an exercise info-mercial. She’s not. She’s Fat. Dieting doesn’t work. Mr. Clean calls her ‘Eight-Wide’. He actually measured her width, as she lay splayed on the couch one day. Her other nickname? Scha-Nazi, the Mad Bomber. She gets her jollies by dropping like a Daisy Cutter onto unsuspecting dogs. She attacks strangers. Best guard dog I ever had, except I’d like people to stay IN my house rather than run screaming out the door. We have to warn everyone walking into our home, “Do Not Touch The Cat. No matter how much she rubs on you or how sweetly she looks up at you, Do Not Touch her or you will lose a hand.” It’s amazing how many people won’t believe you until you’re applying a tourniquet to their arm and placing their severed fingers in Ziplocs full of ice. Yesterday, though… yesterday took the cake.

It was early evening and the sun had just dropped behind the pine trees. Mr. Clean called me on his cell, from the backyard, and told me to run out to the back porch, Quick! He promised it would be a sight like no other. I scooted out the back door and upon his frantic pointing, turned my attention to our pond. There, in the distance were a couple of juvenile deer bounding to and fro, their little white tails flipped high in the air as they ran in circles. They looked like they were playing a little game of tag, until I heard the little sneezing sounds accompanying their bounding. Normally, this sound is an alert. In deer talk, they were saying “Oh! Look! Danger! Watch Out!” I looked at Mr. Clean and shrugged my shoulders. From across the yard, he shook his head and pointed back at the deer. I peered through the dying light and there, leaping with claws splayed wide at one of those little deer’s heinies, was my 10 lb kitty impersonating a Cheetah.




I have been banned from having any more animals at our house. And honestly? I’m fine with that. If history provides an insight into the future, the next animal would probably be like Pinky and would mind-warp us into helping him take over the world. Either that or we’d be that family on the news claiming a chinchilla held us hostage in our closet for a week while he made a WMD.
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