My Relationship with The Lesser Species

16 Aug

I am an animal lover. From the time I was but a wee one, I have almost always had an animal companion by my side. My first pet was a traditional one; he was a stray dog whom we originally met when we discovered he was operating a betting shop from inside our garage. While we admired both his creativity and resourcefulness, this was no life for a dog and we set out to reform him. I loved little Brown Leonard (as we named him) and still recall fondly our walks around the esplanades of Trenton, NJ. He was always up for an adventure or a game of cards. Our relationship was based upon mutual respect, unconditional love and a substantial amount of gambling debt.

Of course, while I was still a child, my parents, or rather my father, selected our pets. In our household, my parents shared responsibility: my mother controlled everything and my father did what he was told. As my mother felt our reputation in the neighbourhood had suffered as a result of Brown Leonard’s nefarious former livelihood, she assigned all future pet duties to my father. Throughout my tenure there, we shared our home with quite a menagerie. My father was particularly fond of fish, though his aquarium was positioned in his private study which no one but he could enter. Over the years, that collection of fish became a tropical smorgasbord of exotic varieties, recognised state-wide as a perfect mini eco-system and the only real friends my father has.

The story I shall now recount involves the first pet I chose on my own. I say chose but, of course, the philotherians amongst you will know that a pet actually chooses you. Before I began travelling the world, I was based in a darling flat in Camden, NJ where I was known as “the Lovely Lady” to the locals I refused to meet eyes with on the street. It’s lonely when you leave a house full of love, liquor and noise, so I deduced that a pet might ease that pain. Unfortunately, most of the animals at the local shelter had backgrounds which I felt were too dissimilar from my own. But one afternoon I returned home to see find a small, rather trampish looking dog asleep on my doorstep. As I unlocked the door, he rushed in, climbed upon my settee and went back to sleep. Although this type of behaviour would be abhorrent from a human (yes, I am referring to Captain Snezley during his troubled years), I found it almost endearing from this pup. Through research, I discovered that his breed was most likely Telomian and I felt that he and I understood that a better life was deserved by both of us. I named him Sebastian and felt satisfied I had found my new best friend.

Sebastian slept soundly for the first three days post-arrival while I purchased a large array of items to make his new home comfortable. When he first began to investigate his new surroundings, though, he showed little interest in the toys, chews and reading materials I had selected for him. He instead preferred to stay crouched in the corner, occasionally peeping through the net curtains of the dining room window, watching closely the street. Having never been a dog myself, I was reticent to suggest alternative activities for him. I still considered him a friend but was beginning to doubt that he felt the same way towards me.

One afternoon (I remember it was a Tuesday, the day that unemployment checks were handed out so thankfully few of my neighbours were congregating on my street corner as they otherwise so charmingly did), a young policeman arrived at my door. As soon as the bell went, Sebastian ran upstairs in a way that made me feel he did not want to be seen. I permitted the officer to enter my house and, after pouring him a cup of tea, I asked him to sit with me in the sitting room. He looked tired, and I inquired about the case which was clearly exhausting him so.

Here he began a tale of such criminality that I shall spare you the details (which I don’t remember). But suffice it say, I felt victimized just hearing them. Before I could offer my advice on the best course of action in solving this conundrum, the young officer produced from his pocket a photograph (shoddily taken but clear enough to recognise) of Sebastian. I immediately put on a brave face. He asked if I had seen this creature, lurking. Although I normally try to keep my responses to police officers’ questions as close to the truth as possible, I confess in this circumstance I told a falsehood. He then bid me adieu, leaving his calling card in the basket near the door, put there for that very purpose.

Needless to say, I instantly confronted Sebastian about his involvement with illegal activities. He denied everything. I wanted to believe him and I told him I did, but I still had my suspicions. We lived together for another week but by then had become strangers. Although it broke my heart to pieces, I spoke to the boy next door and arranged for Sebastian to be shot and removed from the premises while I was at the market. The house no longer seemed the same. It was now free of his masterful criminal mind but it also lacked that love which can only exist between man and beast. Despite what had passed between us, I never grassed up Sebastian to the police. The guilt clearly had made him suffer enough. I missed him, but as I was by then planning my first trip to Europe and a pet would have complicated my itinerary, I believe the situation’s resolution was probably the best for both of us.

Relationships with animals are magical and in many ways more rewarding than many interactions I’ve had with fellow humans. I suppose the lesson here is that, no matter how good you are, how loving you are, you cannot trust anyone with a blue tongue. Keep this in mind, young ones, particularly when out and about on the dating scene.

3 Responses to “My Relationship with The Lesser Species”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    […] you know, I adore animals and find the human-beast relationship surely one of the most intriguing and satisfying of the many I have had. However, I am appalled by […]

  3. It May Be “Cute” But It Should Be Illegal | Everyone Needs an Algonquin - Tuesday, 27 January 2015

    […] you know, I adore animals and find the human-beast relationship surely one of the most intriguing and satisfying of the many I have had. However, I am appalled by […]

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