The Animal List

As a kid, and admittedly as an adult, the kids in my family always liked to claim they were “Mom’s favorite”.  To which, of course, my dear mom would reply, “Oh, NUTS to you kids. I love you all the same.”  I wondered about that, until we had kids of our own. Now I realize it is, in fact, true.  No matter what a kid does, they can’t win the “favorite” title, because moms and dads have this infinite love thing going on, and you can’t top that.  Which explains why my kids have apparently given up on winning through extra household chores.  There is no winning.  And no losing.

But animals are different.  There’s a lot of love there, but there are favorites.  If there was a flood, you wouldn’t stand on the porch wringing your hands.  You’d make the call and act with confidence.  Admit it.

The dog comes first.  Bart rocks.  He’s a scavenger, but so are the rest of us.  For all the reasons dogs are man’s best friend, they get the #1 spot on my animal list.  It’s the enthusiastic greetings, the thump thump thump of the tail when you say his name.  It’s the sincere look they have when you make a super high squeaky sound with your lips.  And labs, I must add, top the dog list.  (Sorry Lori. You can have your own list.)

I have to say goats come second.  They snuggle, after all, and they are hilarious.  Also scavengers, but oh, so entertaining and as loyal as dogs.  And now that we have collars and bells on them, we may never be parted again.

There’s a two-way tie for the next spot.  Chickens have been surprisingly EXCELLENT.  No kidding.  Obviously they are the most productive contributors now that the hens are laying like fiends.  But they, too, are snuggly.  And hilarious.  And less smelly than I anticipated.  We have so many kinds, too, that hanging out in the coop has become one of my favorite pastimes.  The tie, of course, is with Lil Joe.  Lil Joe is our miniature horse, and he smells delicious …to those of us who had horses as kids and loved to bury our noses in their warm necks.  His hooves are so perfect and tiny.  And his winter coat is irresistible. And, as with many of us, he turns to butter when you scratch his rump.

There’s a tie for the next spot, too.  Edging out the three kittens – all sisters named “Mike” – is our elegant bay llama, Miss Lady.   She wins for being a brilliant livestock guardian.   She wins for running like a giraffe.  And she wins for being exotic and cool, and making it possible for the kids to say, “I was late to school because we had to catch the llama.”  She also wins because, as cute and sweet as those sister-cats-named-Mike are, I am allergic.  Not their fault, but it’s my list.

Is it sick to make such a list when we’re talking about God’s creatures? Maybe. But no one has to worry.  There’s plenty of love on this farm.

Until there’s a flood.

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