By Shannon Ralph
Sometimes I wonder if my daughter was conceived, unbeknownst to me, via some advanced alien cloning procedure rather than your plain old everyday sperm meets egg scenario. She and I are so much alike that at times it gives me the spooks. Seriously. Hard core heebie-jeebies.
As my weird creepy clone daughter who mirrors every trait I possess, there are some places that we simply should not be allowed to go together. A few that come to mind immediately are book stores (just try to get us out of there), old-fashioned candy shops (just hook us up to white chocolate IVs and walk away), Michael’s (colored pencils and fancy papers in every hue found in nature…can you say heaven on earth?), and Claire’s (you may not guess it by my outer appearance, but I am a hard core, Hello-Kitty-nail-polish-loving, colored-extensions-adoring, bangly-bracelet-coveting girly girl at heart).
Last night, we ended up together at the worst possible place for me and my clone to congregate. We attended a Girl Scout field trip to the Humane Society of Golden Valley.
As you may or may not know, I am a serious dog person. I love dogs. I adore dogs. Every breed. Every size. Every color. I think dogs are without a doubt God’s noblest creation. I can handle the television commercials showing little children in third world countries with runny noses and bulging bellies. Yes, I want to help them. Yes, I feel for them, but I do not fall apart. Show me as ASPCA add, however, and I melt into a blubbering heap of…well…blubber…on my living room floor. Ruanita says that I stare at random dogs on the street with the same wide-eyed devotion that “normal” (her term, not mine) people reserve for newborn babies and creatures plucked from their own wombs. She thinks it is a sickness. I just think I am a dog person.
My daughter is also a dog person. And a cat person. And a rabbit person. And a gerbil person. And a ferret person. And apparently, a chinchilla person. Who knew? Dropping the two of us off in the middle of a Humane Society facility is really quite dangerous, to say the very least.
We showed up early, of course. About half an hour early to peruse the puppies and kitties on our own before the rest of our group arrived. We both immediately found a dog that, in no uncertain terms, belonged in our home. Then we found another. Then another. Then an extremely furry rabbit named Lionhead. If I am being honest, Sophie had to sell me on the rabbit a bit, but it’s not a huge leap from Fido to Peter Cottontail. I mean…they both have fur. Right?
I was particularly smitten with a one-year-old smallish yellow lab mix named Vixen. She had the sweetest brown eyes I have ever seen outside of my son Nicholas’s orbital sockets. And we had chemistry. Real chemistry. I mean, I could see it in her eyes. She was feeling it too. Unfortunately, we had to go meet up with the rest of our group in the midst of our love connection.
We toured the facility with our Girl Scout group. Both the clone and I were disappointed when we were advised that we could not stick our hands into the kennels to pet the animals. We followed the rules because, well, she and I are both rule followers. Another thing we have in common. We did circumvent the rules a bit, however, by staying after the group tour and petting the hell out of those puppies through the kennel wires.
Vixen remembered me. Even though a good hour and a half had passed since our last visit (a pretty dang long time in dog years), I could tell that she was still crushing hard on me. She wanted to take me home. Or rather, she wanted me to take her home. And I wanted to. I really wanted to take her home and introduce her to the family. I wanted nothing more than to give my boxer, Stella, a little sister. Everyone needs an obnoxious little sister to bug the shit out of them, right? Even a dog.
Unfortunately, despite our clonedom, Sophie is a six-year-old little girl and I am an adult. I had to be an adult. I had to tell Sophie no. I had to tell Vixen no. I had to explain that, while I would love nothing more than having another dog, her other mommy is not quite on board. Actually, that is an understatement. The exact wording she used was “f**k no,” if I recall correctly. And something about hell freezing over…but we’re in Minnesota, so she may have just been talking about the weather when I heard that. Regardless, she is not completely invested in the idea of getting another dog.
But we’re working on her. Sophie and I are working hard to bring her into the fold. I have tried appealing to her sense of family. (“Stella needs a sibling. Every child needs a sibling.”) I have tried appealing to her inner lazy ass. (“If we had two dogs, they would get a great deal of exercise by playing together in the back yard. You wouldn’t have to take Stella on so many marathon walks anymore.”) I have tried appealing to her narcoleptic nature. (“If Stella had another dog to cuddle up with at night, perhaps she would not try so hard to sneak into our bed. Maybe we’d get a good night’s sleep for a change.”) I have even tried appealing to her in that most sacred of places—her wallet. (“If you agree to adopt another dog, I will completely stop bugging you about getting cable. Expensive cable.”) To date, nothing has worked.
But the clone and I are not giving up. Two brains are better than one—especially two genetically identical brains—and we WILL come up with a way to rally her to our cause.