LOMBARD – “We’re all hoarders, you know,” my wife Joan explained to me after attending the Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association’s annual meeting.
The vets were practicing doing ultrasounds on dogs from the local animal shelter. And the doctors were quickly falling in love with the homeless canines. I’m sure I wasn’t the only veterinary spouse to hear: “Can we adopt one?” Animal doctors have such an intense love for creatures that their homestend to become, well, menageries.
You see, I’ve been blessed with two veterinarians in my life – my father and my wife. Vets have an affinity for animals that most people don’t understand.
When I asked my wife for her hand in marriage, I made her promise: no animals would be added to our family – unless we both agreed. I asked for the promise with a childhood memory in the back of my mind.
When I was 8, my dad came home with a billy goat. Dad was vaccinating cattle at a sale barn and as a joke bid $5 on a lonely billy goat that didn’t have any ears. We ended up owning the beast that devoured newspapers, cigarette butts and just about anything else. The ruminant had no respect for fences or screen doors. No sooner had the goat been put in the pasture than it jumped the fence, ran across our yard, peered through the screen door and baaed loudly. My mother took to chasing Billy off the porch with a broom – until he ate the broom. Having no respect for fences, the animal took to sunning itself on the front porch, where more than a few drivers nearly swerved off the road after observing the goat.
Given this history, you’d think I’d have gone into marriage to a vet with my eyes wide open. Dream on.