When we moved to an acreage almost 7 years ago, people often asked us if we planned on getting animals to fill the empty spaces on our land. “Will you have horses?” they’d ask. “Chickens, perhaps? Or goats?”
“Surely,” they’d say, “you’ll have a dog?”
Somehow, in their thinking, animals just belonged on our ten acre patch of Minnesota.
The truth is, I am not really an animal person. It’s not that I don’t like them…it’s just that I know nothing about them. I grew up with a cat – though I can’t remember what happened to her. She had one kitten, one time. That kitten died on my birthday (a tragedy I have blogged about here) but other than that, I had no pets when I was young.
As for animals like horses or goats, there isn’t a chance I’d ever want one. Too much work, too much bother. Does that sound terrible? I don’t mean it to, it’s just that I don’t want the job of raising and/or caring for an animal…and if I don’t want it, surely it shouldn’t be foisted upon me, right? No one wants an unwilling mother.
And what if that animal got sick? I wouldn’t have the first clue what to do and I’m afraid that it would die all because I was too clueless to know how to help it and I’d feel guilty for the rest of my life that I killed the poor innocent sheep (or whatever) because I was too dumb to know what to do for it.
That just doesn’t sound like fun to me.
When I had children, I learned that I am actually a very selfish creature. Yes, I got up in the middle of the night time after time…and for my babies I was willing to do that…but for an animal, I am not. I am not cut out for feeding lambs three times a night or sitting by the side of a pregnant cow.
Some people are made for the animal life. I respect, love, and appreciate these people. I pet their dogs. I admire their hedgehogs. I truly am impressed by their commitment.
All this being said, I absolutely love the look of chickens pecking around in my neighbor’s front yard. I love ducks strutting across the landscape, and the idea of fresh eggs.
I just don’t want to have to take care of them.
So, the answer to the question of whether or not we’ll have animals on our acreage is an unequivocal “no”. We have a cat. The neighbor Tom came over for a visit, and she now has kittens which we all love and know how to care for. That makes me happy and content.
I’m even enjoying taking cute kitten photos.
But that’s enough for this girl.
The moral of the story:
You can take a girl to the country. But you can’t force her into 4-H.