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The other day…I was thinking about how my daughter and my two grandchildren (Talia and Judah), plus possibly their puppy dog (Sophie) are planning on visiting us in Palm Desert. I welcome the family, but not so much the dog. I guess many people consider the dog part of the family so when traveling the animal must be included. Can you imagine what destruction a frisky dog can do to your home? Now that I think about it, probably less damage than my grandson.

As I recall the last time Judah visited, he left his marks all over our abode. Every mirror and window had his handprints embossed on them, not to mention the scars on the walls from his hot wheel’s cars. A four-year boy is extremely inquisitive and feels compelled to touch everything. Well, here are two examples of his mischief. After a day of chasing him about, I collapsed into bed. I was expecting some well-deserved peaceful slumber. Not to be. At two o’clock in the morning I was awoken to the blaring sound of my clock radio. Judah apparently had pushed all the buttons on the radio and reset it. Then, there was the shower fiasco. Judah had messed with the handles. The knobs were set for a nice, warm entry. Imagine my shock, and I mean shock, when a blast of cold water gushed upon me. I apologized later for the obscenities that I shouted out. Okay, I admit, I did take the lord's name in vain.

Getting back to this pet thing. When my kids were young, we went through a whole gambit of critters. First, there was Clyde the turtle. Clyde had been missing for weeks. Not that my kids would know. The novelty of a pet turtle had worn off quickly, and my children, who promised to take care of the reptile, found Clyde expired in a dark closet. Then, there was Molly the hamster. Did you know hamsters are nocturnal? Molly chose to run on her wheel in the early hours of the morning. The sound of that spinning wheel kept the entire family awake. Thus, Molly was moved from room to room until she found herself sleeping in the garage. Molly succumbed to either carbon monoxide poisoning, cold temperature, or possibly (but doubtful) old age.

Then, we mustn’t forget Stan. My two daughters attended the Stanwood Fair where they proceeded to come home with a goldfish, appropriately, they named him Stan. Fast forward to a few months later when I get a phone call from my wife Rosa. I can hear my two daughters in the background crying.

I ask Rosa, "Why are the girls crying?"

She says, "They are upset because Stan has died."

My god! Stan died!? I had totally forgotten about the goldfish and I thought my friend Stan had passed away. My faced turned flush. I found myself on the verge of fainting.

“My god what happened?!” I say.

“I think the kids overfed him and I found him floating on top of the water this morning,” she informs me.

“What is she talking about?” I ask myself. It took me a moment to realize she was talking about Stan the fish. What a relief.

Finally, our last pet was a shi-tzu dog we named Seiko (because she was a ‘watch dog’). Seiko and I were never that close. In fact, she was only friendly to me when I gave her treats. Maybe Seiko could sense my disappointment in the kind of breed she was. I wanted a manly dog and not a lap dog. To compensate I renamed her Buckshot. Neither name seem to matter because she never responded when I called her. Seiko was with us for ten years and I must admit when she passed, I did shed a tear. She had become a member of the family.

Now I know what you are thinking…If I had to choose between my grandson Judah visiting or Sophie the labradoodle, of course I would choose my grandson. Afterall, he is my heir, my namesake, my sweet boy who I adore. I would pick Judah every time, but I must admit after a couple of days with “Judah the Terror,” I might question myself that I had made the right decision.

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