Life in the animal kingdom

Life is busy and there isn’t much downtime.
I used to think the busiest chunk of my life was when my kids were “littles,” but even then I found time to read a novel while they all played together at the park.
Now I can’t remember the last time I picked up a book unless it was to dust under it. There’s just no time.
As if juggling two-and-a-half jobs, country home upkeep, and three needy cats isn’t enough for one mere woman. As if I didn’t already have more than enough shenanigans living with me by the name of “Millie,” “Muffin,” and “Louie”—three felines who believe it is my job in life to feed them pate from a can and allow them carte blanche on counter tops and furniture.
I drove two hours to pick the next two instigators. I drove my brand new 2017 SUV—complete with pristine upholstery and that unmistakable smell of a new bank loan.
I drove two hours having never seen the animals in person; knowing them only by story and photograph but that I wanted them very much.
My lower jaw still is sore from where it hit the ground that day when I laid eyes on them as their caregiver did the introductions and I realized I’d just adopted a small lion and a gazelle.
It was a “What the . . ?” moment as the two six-year-old Great Pyrenees/Border Collie mix canines bounded out the door of their caregiver’s house and unconditionally into the back of my brand new SUV.
“Tank,” weighing in at nearly 100 pounds, should be in the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest strings of duelling drool ever carried on the lower lips of a dog.
The slobber swayed precariously near my ear on the drive home as “Tank” loomed panting over the back seat.
By the time we reached my house, he had managed to slap a trail of goo on every inch of upholstery he could reach and on both rear passenger windows, where the drool dripped down the immaculate interior into the storage compartments on each door—pooling in the yet unused water bottle stations.
And that, as they say, was just the beginning.
I’ve had the dogs for almost 60 days, three hours, and 10 minutes but who’s counting. They have extraordinarily good temperaments and gentle ways—a tribute, no doubt, to their upbringing with their first caregiver, who did an awesome job.
I’m addicted to those loving, saucer eyes and soft noses—drool and copious hair shedding not so much. The wag of tail at sight of me after work and the doggie hugs—priceless.
Now only if they came ready to feed themselves, and knew how to open the door and go outside for a poop in the dark on their own without bolting off into the field swift on the scent of something unseen.
I wish it had been the squirrel from my garage. Alas, a skunk.