Kelly has this theory: We need to let the boys have all the pets they want now while they’re young so we won’t be stuck with any animals when they move out. That’s how, in the past dozen years, we’ve ended up with three dogs, two cats, four snakes, a rabbit, a bearded dragon, three guinea pigs, a dozen fish, and 11 chickens. Mind you, not all at the same time. Today we just have a dog, the cats, one snake and a handful of fish. “Just.”
If I’m being honest, the snake and fish really don’t do much for me. I mean there’s something fascinatingly creepy about watching Herakles, Gus’s corn snake, swallow down a whole (previously frozen) mouse in one gulp. But if I had wanted to be ignored while witnessing poor table manners, I would have stuck with my human children! No, I like my pets furry and affectionate — kind of like my men!
If nothing else, our dog, Skeelo, is both of those. The thing is, when we lost our dog, Gracie, after 14 years of unwavering love and adoration, I didn’t want another dog. But our friend Anne Flower told me that when the time was right, Gracie would send another dog into our lives. A year later, Kelly and the boys had found a dog that just had to come live with us. Niko told me we wouldn’t even need to change her name. I had to break the news to him — kids with two dads simply cannot have a dog named Prancer.
Prancer proved to be a real bitch. Apparently, she somehow cheated on her “good with cats” test, and chased our kitties right out of the house. But the coup de grâce came when she cornered one of the chickens – my favorite chicken – and you can figure out the rest. After just 2 days with us, even the boys agreed she had to go.
But because of Prancer, we found him — an adorable, loving Border Collie mix we named Skeelo. (Skeelo is an Americanized version of the Greek word skeelos, which means dog — get it?) He had been at the Human Society only a day; surrendered by a family who simply said he was more dog than they could handle. The way he cowers from brooms and newspapers, we don’t think those people were very nice to him. But we are. And in return we’ve gotten nothing but unconditional love. He’s never happier than running around with the boys (except at my mom’s; he’s in love with her). I knew we had made the right decision to adopt him when I found Niko asleep on the floor and Skeelo snoozing next to him with his left paw draped over his boy, cuddling him.
Athena and Apollo — the cats — round out our furry family. Apollo struts around with a swagger that’s almost comically similar to Gus’. It’s as if with every step he’s saying, “Duuuuuude!” Athena, on the other hand, is my girl. She’s happiest curled up in bed next to me. I love the fact she gets visibly angry and leaves whenever Kelly comes to bed, but it’s also kind of creepy when she licks my neck.
And yes, if you didn’t notice, all of our animals have Greek names. Skeelo is even becoming bilingual!
What I find so important about having our furry (and non-furry) friends around for the boys is the fact that animals don’t care if you have two dads. They give unwavering, unconditional love back no matter who you are. We all should strive to be more like them.