The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

November 3, 2013

Upsetting Estate’s animal equilibrium


— Just sitting here, worried about a potential increase in the pet population at the Kellar Estate in the near future ...

The fur-covered and four-legged population at the Estate, admittedly, has been at something of a state of equilibrium for a while now; no new surprise arrivals and, fortunately, no departures either.

To my mind, we are doing just fine with the animals we have on hand, which includes Millie, the Laid Back Spaniel Mix; Bosco, the full grown Schnauzer who still believes he is a puppy and/or sled dog; and Farnsworth, our Outdoor Attack Cat. We’ve had the trio for several years and have established a comfortable routine.

The dogs get three walks a day, plenty of food and all of the attention the Kellar Estate occupants — myself, my wife Vida, our 14 year-old daughter Jaylynn and our son Jason, who turns 7 Wednesday — can give them, along with the occasional hug, kiss or stolen biscuit from the children who attend Vida’s daycare operation.

Farnsworth gets the run of the Estate exterior, his own meals and the opportunity to receive some love and affection from any of the above individuals whenever he deigns to allow it, which is not that often.

I should point out the situation has become comfortable to ME, because I really haven’t been interested in adding to the menagerie.

Granted I get plenty of exercise from the nightly dog walks, at least with Bosco, who for some reason believes every time I hook on the leash is another chance to demonstrate his fitness to participate in the Iditarod. Millie, on the other hand, bless her heart, is prone to take her time, ambling along with no real sense of urgency to get anyplace.

Farnsworth has displayed a keen intellect and ability to skillfully train his humans, who have learned to keep his supper dish full at all times, even when Farnsworth isn’t hungry. If this rule is not followed, Farnsworth will flip the mail slot on the front door, which drives Bosco and Millie crazy, until such time as we are forced to carry out his instructions.

Never mind that leaving food in his dish only attracts stray cats and even birds, who like to sample the feline delicacies if for no other reason than to annoy the cat who THINKS he is this supreme hunter.

Anyway, during the past few weeks, the other non-fur-covered, two-legged occupants at the Estate have begun earnestly campaigning to shake up the pet status quo. Jaylynn is pleading for a German Shepherd. Vida is thinking maybe we need a Beagle. Jason just wants something of his own he can name Fire, Flame or any combination of the two.

We came close the other night, as a tiny gray kitten wandered onto the front porch of the Estate and began loudly calling, although the kitten refused to let any of us get near him/her. This did not stop Jaylynn and Jason from coming up with potential names and litter box locations. Farnsworth — himself once an orphan adopted by two cats we used to own — even went so far as to present a dead mouse which he had caught in an effort to welcome the kitten to the Estate. It was all for naught as the kitten wound up finding a home with our neighbors down the street.

I know my procrastination and arguments against any new pets is undoubtedly a lost cause. I realize I am outnumbered and the balance will soon be tipped in favor of additional fur-covered, four-legged residents becoming part of our little zoo. I just hope whatever we get has a nice, even disposition, does not want to drag me around the block at night, doesn’t demand that we share his/her food with the rest of the neighborhood and does not learn that mail slot trick from Farnsworth.

In other words, I’m doomed ...

Just a thought ...

Kellar is a Herald-Banner staff writer