Life in the Zoo: Confessions From an Animal Lover



If you know me, you know that I am an animal lover. Well…animal lover might be a bit of an understatement. My husband makes fun of me for constantly surfing and looking at all the adorable animals that are up for adoption, even though I know we won’t be adding any furry members to our family any time soon. I think puppy, kitten, and sloth videos are the greatest things on the Internet. At social gatherings, I can often be found ignoring the people and hanging out with the host’s pet. I could go on, but you get it. I’m a little weird.

As you probably already guessed, our family consists not only of three (and one on the way) humans, but also several family members of the four-legged variety. We have two dogs and two hairless cats. Some people (*cough*cough*Dad*cough*) call our house the zoo. And they aren’t wrong. It can get chaotic in here with a toddler and four crazy pets. But you know what? I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Without further ado…

The 3 Things All Pet Parents Know to Be True:

1. Our homes are never spotless

When you come to my house, you will leave with dog hair somewhere on your body. Sorry. I could sweep four times a day (I am not going to, but technically speaking I suppose I could), and there would still be dog hair everywhere. I have a lab. It is just a fact of life. Instead of being grossed out by the little balls of dog hair blowing around my house like tumbleweeds in a John Wayne movie, maybe try giving them little names and calling them fur bunnies? “Awww. There goes little Fluffy again! How sweet that she likes to cuddle with the rest of her family under the dining room hutch!” Did that help? No? Well, sorry. Thankfully, our cats are hairless or there would be entire colonies of fur bunnies living all over my house.

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Just another day in the Rymer house.

2. The doorbell is the enemy

I have decided to write a new law. Let’s call it Rymer’s Law. Rymer’s Law states:

“If you have dogs, the doorbell will not ring unless your child has just been put down for a nap.”

This applies to the UPS man delivering highly anticipated Amazon packages, the Scott’s Lawn Care guy that won’t leave us alone (I get it. There are weeds. Chill out, dude.), and the young men in white shirts and black ties that want to tell me how to get to heaven. No matter when my daughter goes down for a nap, there is some sort of cosmic force at work that makes people go, “Now is the time! I must go ring the doorbell on that house right now!”

This really wouldn’t be that big of a problem if my dogs didn’t think it was their job to defend our home from the invading army led by the mail lady. My smallest dog is seriously afraid of cardboard boxes, grocery bags, the broom, and everything outside that makes any sort of noise, but he goes into burglar alarm mode the moment someone steps onto our property. Go figure.

World's most effective alarm system
World’s most effective alarm system

3. There is NOTHING better than animals and kids that love each other

When I was pregnant with our now 18-month-old daughter, I was worried that the animals would not be as thrilled about her joining the family as we were. Thankfully, they have all adjusted really well. It is a running joke between my husband and me that our daughter loves our pets more than she loves us. There was a period of time when she could not say “dog” and called the dogs “dada.” Sometimes when I ask for a hug or a kiss, she will say no and go kiss the cat instead. (Thanks, kid.)

The love goes both ways, too. Well, generally speaking. I’m sure our lab doesn’t love being ridden like a pony, but he gives our daughter kisses and wants to sleep in her room at night. Even the cats don’t seem to mind that she plays a one-sided game of tag with them on a daily basis.

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In all seriousness, I can’t handle how sweet my daughter is with our pets and vice versa. I can only hope that our son (due in November) loves our animals as much as she does. Our house may be hairy, loud, and crowded, but it is full of love.