As any household with children can tell you, life is a never ending stream of incidents, accidents, hints and allegations. (Thank you, Paul Simon.)
You have your hand-detergent-in-the-dishwasher one day, your crayons-and-marker masterpieces on the walls of the bedrooms the next, the spilled Kool-Aid on the carpet of the den, and the bumps and bruises and wounded pride of siblings vying for the lead role in family affairs. Without even considering the midnight emergency room trips and the cars that suddenly end up in the shop, the every-day little things can sometimes tie you up in knots faster than you can keep the ropes from unraveling.
When you think about it, adding pets to the mix might seem like exactly the LAST thing one would want to do, doesn't it? If you were going for order, or peace, or tranquility? Or for that matter, a surface clean enough to fix or eat dinner on anywhere in the house? How could you even think of adding, for example, PET HAIR to the mix??
Let me tell you how it happens: completely by accident. You know. Just like credit card debt. Or babies. Laugh with me, Athens, you know it's true.
As time went by and my own family got started, it seems the new Mr. & Mrs. were both cat-people. A friend of ours knew someone who had a couple of farm kittens that needed homes: did we know anyone who could help? Of course we did, and Patches and Slinky joined our household, litter box messes and carpet accidents and food- and water-bowl spills following along in their wake. They eventually moved to my parents' place due to our move into quarters that didn't accept pets, but the minute we moved out, the pets came back, and they've just kept coming ever since.
Through the college and post-college years and beyond, many friends have shared space under our roof, and their pets have shared space as well. As we moved from place to place, the children have grown up steadily, their numbers staying fairly constant (and low!) But every so often there'd be another animal in need of rescue, temporary lodging, or a forever-home. Did we have space? "*Sigh* … yes..."
So how many animals DOES it take to make a menagerie? At one time or another, we've provided a home for a dozen-plus mice and a couple of rats (pets, not the pest-variety), four ferrets (or was it five? six?), a bat, a bird, four teeny aquarium frogs, a chinchilla, two indoor (and a host of outdoor) dogs, nine cats, and the six incredible rabbits that have become the headlining feature of the Bun-agerie.
Many of these pets are no longer with us; some moved out with their owners, while others were victims of the sad-but-common accidents and ailments that are just a part of life in the company of living creatures. They've all contributed their own share of madness and mayhem, for sure. But they've more than made up for their foibles in fun, companionship, and love. I can't imagine a life lived without their wonderful complications.