‘We don’t have a pet mummy. Why can’t we have a pet?’ Milk moans on the way to school.
I roll my eyes. ‘Yes, we do have a pet. We have two pets. THE RABBITS.’
My eldest son looks confused but then his face relaxes. ‘Oh. The rabbits.’
‘Yes, you know the animals at the bottom of the garden? The ones Daddy feeds, cleans out and takes to the vet. Those are your pets.’
‘I don’t like that grey one.’ Says Mayhem picking his nose. ‘That grey one scratches the white one.’
‘They do have names you know.’ I say a little crossly.
We’ve looked after Barry White and Mrs Grey for four years.
‘I wish we had a dog,’ says Milk.
I ignore Milk because he says this around 47 times a week.
‘Actually.’ I say, a little too brightly, ‘Daddy is taking the grey one to the vet for an operation. Hopefully that will stop her hurting the white one.’
Mrs Grey has not been spayed and keeps trying to hump Barry White, which is confusing for Barry White, because he had the chop a while ago and has no idea what Mrs Grey is doing.
Mrs Grey mounts him and claws at him in her futile passion, pulling the hair from his back. He looks like a zombie rabbit.
My husband takes the sex maniac to the vet, and when the boys return from school, he sits them down for a chat.
‘Operations on pets are sometimes too much for them, so Mrs Grey might not come back.’
‘You mean she might die?’ asks Milk, his eyes widening with interest.
‘Well yes, I suppose she might,’ my husband says carefully.
‘Will we be sad if the grey one dies?’ ponders Mayhem biting the head off his ginger bread man.
‘Errr, we might be’, says my husband.
‘Then can we get a dog?’ asks Milk.
‘No’ my husband and I say in unison.
We actually agree on something. We do not want a dog. Yet.
I can not imagine any scenario where I would want a dog while still looking after small children. Adding an animal to the school run, as well as having to stop to pick poo, is unthinkable.
‘One day, when we have more time, and money, we might get a dog.’ I say quietly.
‘So, we are getting a dog?’ Milk smiles positively.
I’m not even sure why Milk wants a dog anyway. He is terrified of them. He practically jumps into the road every time he sees one coming down the path.
Some mad old woman once told me that if we got a dog it would solve the ‘whole being scared of dogs thing…’ as her mutt tried to eat my flip flops (with my feet still in them) and the boys hid behind my skirt.
I mean that’s like telling an arachnophobe to “just embrace all the spiders”– although to be fair on spiders, they are free and don’t poo on the pavement.
The phone rings and my husband answers. It’s the vet.
He goes very quiet and lowers his voice. ‘Oh, OK. Yes, I see. OK. OK. Mmm.’ He puts down the phone.
‘Is everything OK?’ I ask.
‘Oh God, is Mrs Grey dead?’
I try to think what might be worse than Mrs Grey being dead. Lots of things actually, but I don’t have time to consider them before my husband drops the bomb.
‘The rabbit is fine but the bill is £137.’
‘What?’ I sit down.
‘We might as well get a dog,’ I whisper angrily. ‘
Mayhem goes to collect Mrs Grey with my husband, and Milk, Midnight and I wait on the doorstep for the most expensive bunny in the village to return.
We hear them coming up the path.
‘Daddy!’ Mayhem is chatting away. ‘Daddy I can’t believe I am carrying a NOT dead rabbit in a box!’
‘No, I can’t believe it either,’ says my husband grimacing as they appear at the gate.