I’m not sure how it happened, but over the years our little hillbilly homestead has morphed into some kind of animal preserve.
The exhibits are ever-changing.
It started with the floofy little dog the Hillbilly owned when we got married. He was an “outdoor dog”…a species they don’t normally have in the cities I’ve lived in. Pets were treasured members of the family and lived inside the house with the rest of the civilized people. It was a big adjustment for me.
Me: What if he runs away?
Hillbilly: He won’t.
Me: What if he runs out into the street and gets hit?
Hillbilly: He won’t.
Me: What if he misses dinner?
Hillbilly: He won’t.
Me: *sighs and anticipates disaster*
Within a couple weeks, I had to admit something the Hillbilly wouldn’t often get to hear me say…He was right. The dog lived happily outdoors, except on nights when the temps dropped below freezing, then he got the treat of being allowed inside. And so it went, until a neighbor got a new dog that wanted to expand its territory, came over and attacked our dog. Its a long, bad story that didn’t end well. Maybe someday.
We were heartbroken. I’m the type that needs some time to get over tragedy, the Hillbilly is the “get back on the bicycle immediately”. So we ended up with dog #2, which looked like a clone of dog #1 and got the same name. Except he didn’t have the same outdoor savvy and ended up getting hit by a car shortly after he came to live with us, as did the Boy’s puppy that came next.
I was taking these losses a lot harder than anyone else in the family and I struggled with the callous attitude toward the loss of our pets. At this point I begged, no more dogs for a bit. We still had the MIL’s dog that came to visit often enough that I called him our Part-Time dog.
About 6 months later, I felt recovered enough to start searching the internet shelter sites and a few months later found another clone of dogs 1 & 2. (I’ll share with you a post I did on the whole adoption process at some point in the future.) He was the perfect indoor dog and he became my shadow for the next two years, until tragedy struck again. It was an avoidable incident that several years later, I’m still furious about. Maybe someday I’ll be able to write about it.
Again I asked to have some grieving time and again I was ignored. A few days later, another clone was brought home, in puppy form. There was some yelling (mine), some hysterics (also mine), some cursing (me again) and I still lost the fight. I did win the battle on it not having the same name though. We’ve managed to keep this one for a few years now and that’s him sitting on the couch with me in the picture.
On to the cats. I’m not really a cat person, but living in the country, cat’s are almost a requirement as an all-natural bug and rodent exterminator. Job satisfaction must not be very high because after a couple years, they wander on down the road. We’ve had about six or seven over the years.
In between all the dogs and cats, there’s been other animals come and go, usually because Hillbilly Man thinks it’d be fun to own something. Like the goats. We had two at one point, which ended up being four because one of them was pregnant when we got her. The two babies thought they were dogs and tried to live on the porch. There was also the neighbor’s horse who had “the grass is greener” syndrome and Houdini’d his way over to our fields quite often. And the couple dozen ducks bought as chicks that I ended up raising until they could go live at our pond.
In addition to the ones we’ve owned, there are the neighbor’s dogs which roam the area and eventually seem to gravitate towards our house. Probably because we buy the “good” food.
So, as of today, we have one floofy indoor dog, one hound dog (that they got while I was away for three weeks taking care of my very-ill Mother), and two cats. We also became the de facto owner of two puppies courtesy of the neighbor’s dog who delivered in the crawlspace under our house. She’s also a daily visitor, along with their other dog who likes to sleep under the outdoor table, the two big dogs (both named Dog) owned by a nice old man next door and several roaming dogs that occasionally stop by to visit or cool off in the pond or creek. At any given point, especially feeding time, there’s usually 6 to 8 dogs on our porch and since almost all of them are male, there are occasional fights for dominance.
I feel like a zookeeper. Where’s my whip?
P.S. – @mastercot…with this many dogs, the cheese would be plentiful!