She's been wanting a dog for YEARS. She's always been an animal lover, even when she was tiny. Plastic animals were her toy of choice... which was handy, because they were small and we could easily fit her whole collection in a little box in our tiny apartment. Every time she's asked me for a dog recently, my reply is either, "Not until Crosby is 3" or the newer one, "I'd rather have another baby than get a dog."
When our friends got a dog and were looking for a new home for their guinea pig, it seemed all Scout's dreams were about to come true. I geared up for having an animal in the house (not something I'm remotely a fan of) and for about a week, she was the world's best pet owner. That pig got more baths than it knew what to do with. It was fed constantly. It's cage was cleaned religiously, every few days.
Needless to say, this level of care did not continue. Travis and I began discovering Winnie didn't have any hay, or water. We began wondering if we were being party to pet abuse. We had discussions with Scout about this, and promises were made; charts created. And finally, guess who mostly ended up taking care of the guinea pig.
But the real problem was the allergies... Trav's allergies. They just kept getting worse and worse, the longer Winnie was in our house. Once it warmed up enough, we moved her to the garage... which at least meant we could play Rock Band again without Travis wheezing all night long, but by no means was a solution. So, I began in earnest looking for a new home.
I finally found one through the magic of Craigslist. Is that the greatest of all inventions, or what? I emailed back and forth with Winnie's new owner, figuring out a time we could drop her off. The new owners had a baby pig named Trixie that they thought was lonely, and the lady promised Scout could meet Trixie and be assured that Winnie was going to a great new home.
Fast forward to Tuesday, when was threatening rain. I loaded all of Winnie's supplies into my car and we took her to the address in Yonkers; definitely not the best part of a not super nice town. Trixie's owner wasn't home, and the guy who opened the door looked a lot like a white supremacist: shaved head, ripped jeans, tats all over, many piercings, and huge black combat boots. I made awkward conversation while we lugged all her stuff to their porch, where the kids talked to a black cat. We had heard a dog bark when we knocked, so I smiled and said, "Man, you guys really have a lot of pets! You must love animals!" and he grunted and said, "It's for the wife and kid. The only one I like is the rat."
Well. Calder jumped on that and before you knew it, he was talking about how he was dying to see the rat. The kids had already been told they'd get to meet Trixie, so what was the problem with meeting the RAT? The supremacist looked uncomfortable and said, "Uh... the rat is sleeping" while I tried to corral the kids into the car. As we walked down their driveway to where Oz was waiting in the car, I had one kid wailing, "BUT YOU PROMISED!! YOU SAID WE COULD GO IN AND MEET TRIXIE" while the other one was crying, "YOU LIED TO US! YOU SAID WE COULD SEE THEIR GUINEA PIG!" Oh boy. Things were not going my way. Apparently I've done too great a job of teaching my kids to not judge people by what they wear.
It all came to a climax when Calder angrily kicked some rocks which hit the car. I lost it and said, "I'm telling Dad that you did that!" and I snapped at them both to GET IN THE CAR, NOW. Finally, once they were inside I tried to explain that I didn't lie, but that the woman who had promised me that we could meet Trixie wasn't at home and it would have been an unsafe idea for us to go into that man's house. I'm still not sure they really get it, but at least we got out of there in one piece without having to interface with the rat.
So goodbye Winnie. And may I add... Good Luck.