Know Your Limits

 

Know Your Limits

 

 

Recently a friend suggested we adopt a dog for my fifteen-year-old, Caleb, when we had sadly been forced to put down his childhood dog-friend, Trevor. Don’t think for a moment the temptation wasn’t there because I love my child, but I said, “No.” A slight tug of guilt niggled about… One minute. Just what had I endured in rearing six children for a period of thirty years?

  • Six hermit crabs, and six hermit crab funerals.
  • Four turtles—big ones, small ones, green ones, speckled. Don’t kid yourself that turtles are slow. They ran from my kids.
  • Two rabbits, one which lived indoors. Do you know how often and to  what extent Lucy, the indoor rabbit, pooped?
  • Add to this list, a goldfish bowl. Three aquariums, one of which my five-year-old, Jarred, wore on his head while jagged shards of glass threatened to sever his carotid artery. Not to mention, the ten gallons of dirty-fishy water and flailing fish that landed on the carpet.
  • Three horses: Cricket, Lady, and Chess. Cricket lived in the backyard for a few weeks. What was that like? Well, aside from the balding yard, it was a little like trying to have school with children while being entertained by the circus. Never tie a horse to a swing set. Even if it’s made of iron.
  • We had a number of dogs. Sheba, an Alaskan Spitz, as a puppy favored pooping in the floor furnace (while it was radiating) and later climbed sixteen foot fences in rain storms.
  • The twin puppies Jiffy and Skippy found new homes quickly since they hadn’t been such bright ideas coupled with potty training two young sons.
  • The adopted dog, Cinnamon, Kirk renamed Lassie. Why? I haven’t a clue since she was a Weimaraner mix and not a Collie. Stubborn as the day was long that dog and the boy.
  • The Cocker Spaniel pup, Blessing, that should have been named Curse the way she chased cars, bike riders, and school buses.
  • Tucker, the Lhasa Apsos, whom someone paid two hundred dollars to own and gave to us. That should have been a no brainer.
  • And Trevor, another adoptee who should have had the Native American name rug-lies-in-a-heap-where-you-wish-to-walk.
  • Three litters of puppies. One surprise litter had to be kept in our empty in-ground pool, because we had no backyard fence.
  • Another litter, delivered by C-section at the vet clinic in the middle of the night, actually lived after the vet took each puppy from their mama’s womb and handed them to one of our eight family members. My husband, children, and I had to briskly rub each puppy with a towel to start their breathing.
  • Cats? I’ve lost count. There was the one kitten which lost her life when she darted under a moving rocker. Then there was a white cat, Sassy, that needed a mental institution after young Joshua locked her in a tool box for four one hundred degree plus days.
  • The next cat was a gray and white tabby named Seeka, and she lived with us a long while. She was perfect pet with Megan and Joanna. They daily dressed her in doll clothes and took her for spins around the yard in a baby buggy.
  • Seeka had kittens. One, we thought a boy, was named Morris until we discovered he had become with kittens. This male, orange cat was hastily renamed Morrisa and had five orange babies, then licked a laundry detergent bottle and died. The next day Seeka delivered six new tabby babies. A proud mother and grandmother, Seeka adopted her grandchildren and nursed all eleven kittens. Now that was a precious lesson.
  • Jake and Sweety, our lovely, cheerful, innocent parakeets. How much trouble could they be? They ate one of my expensive second grade ABeka readers. They were not good pets in a house with twelve foot ceilings. Try catching one of those while balancing on a seven foot ladder.
  • And, I must mention Lucious, the jack-ass. No, I cannot politely call this animal a donkey. Lucious had one speed no matter how many times you prodded him with cowboy boots. He traveled stand-still-miles-per-hour. Except for when his neck would suddenly stiffen. Then he ran like a streak of lightening, bolted to a stop like a speed racer at a red light, and hurled his rider over the pasture fence with no remorse.
           I have been known to say, I will endure for one of my children when I may not for myself. Love and laughter keep us on a steady course, and the lessons of living, adopting, and dying enrich us. But I know my limits, at least at this stage in the game. Sometimes it is okay to say, “No.”
 
Listen for His Whispers… Sometimes they’re loud.

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