It’s a small, bark, meow world, after all

September 17, 2013

By Greg Farrar

There is not what we would call an identity crises going on among the two- and four-legged residents of the humble Farrar household, but we could probably hit the nail on the head if our identities were described as highly flexible.

You will understand if I simply say that the cats think they are dogs or sometimes humans, the dogs think they are humans, the husband thinks he is a cat or dog or sometimes a wife, and the wife thinks she is a dog or cat or sometimes a husband.

Greg Farrar Press photographer

Greg Farrar
Press photographer

Smudge, one of our three cats, always wants to eat what the people are eating. She enjoys rice cakes, fudge bars, olives, yogurt, vegetable soup and spaghetti.

Our dogs Bairn and Ilsa live on the furniture and watch TV with us, always “help” us read the paper, never let us out of their sight and don’t bat an eye when Smudge, Smokey and Flash walk around them rubbing their foreheads under the dogs’ chins.

When I am on the sofa or in the backyard hammock, there is always a cat curled up on my chest where I will join in a purring duet. Also, I do all the cat claw clipping. Right now, I am wearing a sweatshirt that says “real men love cats,” layered over a T-shirt with a big Rottweiler face on it. Otherwise, I will be doing wife-type chores like grocery shopping, gardening, heating dinner or vacuuming.

My wife has always been the one to choose and name each new family member. She takes the dogs on their walks, calls them up on the couch or on the bed, and makes sure the cookie jar is full of their dog biscuits.

“Where are my babies?” she says every time she comes in the front door. Her husbandly identity includes splitting wood for the fireplace, raking leaves in the yard, doing all the banking, and being master of the TV remote and DVR.

I guess the upside is we are all getting what we want, and at the same time we can sub for each other when it’s necessary. Judi washes, hangs out, folds and puts away laundry, but husband does it, too. The husband mows lawns, pressure-washes the patio, scrubs the bathtub and runs errands, but so does the wife.

The cats can be indifferent and independent, but needy and clingy when it suits them, and the dogs can live the wild life of a carnivore howling at the stars, but be inside with their cat buddies when it’s too hot or too cold.

The mind boggles at just one question. I wonder what life would have been like with children in our melting pot?

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