Nip and Tuck lift Phyllis's spirits By Bob Karolevitz The veterinarian said in dolorous tones: "Phyllis, you've just got to get some younger pets."
The remark came after a very traumatic period at our farm.
First off, Joseph, the pygmy goat, had to be put to sleep because, at his age, he was suffering some sort of skin malady from which the vet said he'd never recover.
Then Phyllis's indoor cat had to give up the last of his nine lives because the advancing years had put Toshi on the terminally ill list.
When those tears had subsided, Skeeter � Phyllis's 32-year-old quarter horse, a mere shadow of her former self � also had to go the euthanasia route. That was especially heart-rending because a grave had to be dug in one of our small pastures several days in advance, and my sentimental frau had to see that ominous hole in the ground every time she went to the barn.
The Animal Health Clinic tried to ease the pain by billing us for "heavenizing," but the thoughtful gesture was only partly successful.
Finally it came time for Maude, our old arthritic ewe, to go to that Great Sheep Cote in the Sky. Long past lamb-bearing age, she followed Phyllis around the yard like a puppy dog, so her departure was another sorrowful event.
After all that, Phyllis decided to sell the last of her healthy young sheep, and one day a buyer came and hauled them away.
I breathed a great sigh of relief, and my wife handled the situation quite well. No sobbing. No fond farewells.
Of course, we still have an irascible Shetland, a skittish burro, our gun-shy golden retriever, a barn cat, a visiting horse and a Welsh Corgi, plus our motley collection of geriatric chickens � but I was inwardly happy that at least part of our menagerie was gone.
My elation was short-lived, however!
I should have noticed Phyllis reading the classified ads in the pets section. And when she and daughter Jill announced that they had to go to town "to pick up a couple of things," I should have been suspicious and forewarned.
The "couple of things" turned out to be two kittens, an orange and grey pair quickly named Nip and Tuck. (I still don't know which one is which).
Needless to say, we are now back in the indoor cat business. I'll have to do some re-budgeting so we can afford the gourmet kitty food, the litter box filler and the necessary surgery. (There is no Medi-Cat program.)
Already Nip and Tuck are into everything in our storeroom which is their temporary home until they get declawed. At least Phyllis is protective of our furniture, which is fine because I've never cared for shredded sofas.
I suppose I'll have to put up with the oh's, ah's and "aren't they cute" commentaries as the tiny feline acrobats perform for Phyllis and her friends.
I've got to admit, that when my wife isn't looking, I kind of enjoy watching them, too!