Jane Green
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Four-legged friends

August 29th, 2016

Jane Green petsHours spent missing children: 0. Oh okay, maybe 2

Hours spent tidying up after messy children: 0

Hours spent driving children here, there and everywhere: 0

Hours spent in gratitude for summer camps: 180

Hours spent writing: 19

The house is very quiet. Eldest Daughter is working in New York, appearing occasionally to top up her tan. The Rower has been selected to row for the US Men’s Junior National Team, and is training in Portland, Oregon, before heading over to Rotterdam at the end of August for the World Championship. Teenage Daughter and Twin B are at sleepaway camp, and Twin B is home alone.

He came in to the kitchen yesterday with a suspicious look on his face. “Mum,” he said. “I know you’re going to say no, but I really want you to think about this because it’s very easy and low-maintenance and I really think we should do it.”

I arched my eyebrow at him, knowing this was going to involve something living and probably four-legged. I am increasingly becoming known as the sucker who will take in animals that need a home. See, Stan the rabbit. And Baby the cat. And Felix the cat. And Duke the dog. If there is an animal in need of rescuing, I tend to be your woman.

It turns out, as predicted, that Twin A has a friend who is looking to rehome a tortoise. And reader, I know you will be proud of me, for I stood in the kitchen and thought to myself: 5 children, 2 dogs, 5 cats, 6 chickens, 1 bearded dragon, 1 bunny rabbit…enough!

But in truth I know I am white-knuckling it. Should a little furry kitten need a home, I might be toast, and am therefore thinking of starting a 12-step Programme: Rescuers Anonymous. I’m sure it would be successful.

You might find yourself staring longingly at the windows of the puppy shop on Lexington Avenue (yes, there really is a shop on Lexington Avenue, and they really do still sell puppies), grinding your teeth and trying to find the willpower not to go in, when a kind soul might sidle up to you and whisper, “Are you a friend of Dr. D?” (Dr. D being Dr. Doolittle), and you could go off and have a mini meeting, discuss your powerlessness over small, furry, four-legged creatures, knowing that just this time, just for this day, you have escaped.

At this point I must confess I  ended up with most of the cats because I was forever just dropping in to our local humane society. Just for fun. I’d have the tiny kids with me and a couple of hours to kill, and we had usually done the museum, the library, the bookstore, the aquarium, and we’d be stuck, so off to the Humane Society we’d go, emerging an hour or so later with something furry.

My friend The Rescuer, who actually does work for International Animal Rescue and spends her time raising awareness and funds so they can rescue baby orang-utans (okay, they’re not all babies, but they are all endangered) in Borneo, dancing bears, street dogs in India, the slow loris and many cats, has just brought home a micro pig.

His name is Tonka. He is tiny, strong, and very sweet. But no. I’m not going to get a micro pig. Really, really, really and truly, I’m not. Maybe I’ll just go and have a look. I promise that’s all…

(This article was first published in The Lady Magazine.)


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