Sheltered Islander: Driven to Drink – Our Day at the Animal Shelter

Sheltered Islander - animal shelter driven to drink
Photos: Oliver Peterson, Rich Legg and GlobalP/iStock/Thinkstock

It’s that time of year again. Puppies and kittens are popping up with the daffodils. On the Island, we’ll have new labs from ferry to ferry.

“Scott, if you’re going to go to the animal shelter to get a puppy, DO NOT take any of the kids with you. You’ll end up bringing back every animal in there. I am only agreeing to one medium-sized dog. No more than 40 pounds.”

“Come on, I gotta take the kids!”

“No. They’ll be so happy to have a pet, they won’t care about the selection process.”

“My dad always took us to pick up a new dog.”

“And that’s how your mother got stuck taking care of six dogs, two cats and a hamster in her retirement.”

That night, Dad holds a secret meeting with two of his kids.

“Brian and Timmy, you guys are the oldest, so you gotta help me get the girls up and out of the house before Mom gets up. We’ll have breakfast off Island. Everybody be ready to go when I wake you up. Don’t say anything to the girls tonight. They can’t keep a secret.”

The next morning at the animal shelter…

“Okay, kids, we can’t have a dog heavier than 40 pounds and we don’t want one that sheds. I have final approval.”

“Dad, Brian and me wanna combine our two 40-pound dogs for a St. Bernard so he can pull our boat.”

“No, no, no St. Bernards. Besides, you can only pick from what’s here.”

“Daddy, I want that white kitten over there. I want both those white kittens. One can be for me, and one can be for Gigi.”

“I don’t know, Tammy. I told Mom we’d just bring home one dog.”

“Daddy, I don’t wanna kitty. I want the hankster in the pink cage.”

“No, no, Gigi. We’re getting a puppy dog. No kitty cats, no hamsters.”

“Daddy, the two white cats are cream-point Siamese. The lady says they just went up for adoption and they won’t last an hour. Gigi will forget all about the hamster if we get kittens.”

“No Daddy, I don’t wanna kitty! I want Shiny! That’s the hankster in the pink cage!”

Later, on the way back to Shelter Island…

“Got everything, Dad?”

“Yup. Eight hundred dollars worth of pet supplies for two dogs, two cats, and a ‘hankster.’”

“No, Dad, I meant the other stuff, the stuff you needed to save your life?”

“Oh yeah. Lobster dinner with extra lobster, Godiva chocolates, lemon cake, plus lemon cake-flavored vodka and three dozen rum-raisin cookies. With this ammo, boys, there’s still only a slight chance your mother won’t kill one or all of us when we get home. Let me go in first with the goodies, I’ll call you in when I’m ready, and you can bring in the pets.”

Twenty-five minutes later, an enraged wife sits facing her favorite goodies spread out on the table. In a low, soft voice, she says “Just give me the facts.”

“Brian got a Sheltie, Timothy got a border collie mix.”

“That’s two dogs, Scott. I said one dog.”

“And Tammy got two kittens.”

“Are they golden statues that we can sell?”

“No. They’re cream-point Siamese kittens.”

“Okay. Cream-point Siamese helps, but you’re still in a lot of trouble.”

At this moment, four children with five pets enter the family home, all very excited and showing off their pets. Gigi fumbles to the front of the pack with a little pink cage containing Shiny the Hankster. Mother looks at Father, and says, “And a hamster? You got a hamster, too?”

“You want me to pour you a glass of vodka now?”

“No. Just open the bottle and hand it to me and no one will get hurt.”

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