Posts Tagged ‘ pets ’

The Pet Store Is The Cheap Version Of The Zoo

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

3 years, 6 months.

Dear Jack,

This past Saturday afternoon, as Mommy was gone for a few hours to explore the possibility of becoming a demo singer on the side (we do live in Nashville, after all…), you woke up early from your nap.

We were both in the mood to explore; not to play Legos, cars, or trains.

I decided it was a good time for us to have a fun, free dadventure. It was even more fun because I let you stay in your pajamas.

While our zoo pass is still good for another week or so, I decided to take you by the exotic pet store right down the road from our house, called The Aquatic Critter.

Good call.

So much so, that Mommy decided to go with us again on Sunday.

One of our family favorites was the “Black Dogface Puffer.” It reminded me of Falcor, the flying dog from The Neverending Story.

But for 199 bucks, I have a feeling we won’t be making him our family pet any time soon; even if he was the perfect mix between a dog and a fish…

Strangely enough, the pet store also has some “not for sale” pets that they keep on display for the potential customers.

You know, like an alligator and some rhino iguanas.

I’m always looking for new ways to introduce you to the world. I want to find ways to mix things up.

Sure, the exotic pet store is technically the poor man’s zoo, but it’s a hit.

We’re not at the right place in life to actually consider having a pet; except possibly a beta fish.

But for now, it’s more fun (and a lot less responsibility) to just visit the pet store and pretend all those cool (and weird) animals are your pets that you visit on the weekend.

 

Love,

Daddy

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Jack Meets Max The Cockapoo, Nearly 3 Years Later

Sunday, January 5th, 2014

3 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

I imagine there will be a lot of confusion for you over these next several years in regards to how animals actually communicate with humans.

Considering all the kids’ movies and TV shows that feature talking animals, it seems to be evident that we humans secretly fantasize about being able to truly talk to the animals we love.

In fact, something I’ve got up my sleeve for 2014 is a 373 word childrens’ book I have written and have recently started working with an extremely talented illustrator on.

The plot line itself capitalizes on the truth that animals and humans do communicate in a language, but not a spoken one.

More on that in months to come, hopefully…

As for today, I want to tell you what happened this weekend as you were re-introduced to Max, the amazing Cockapoo (a Spaniel/Poodle mix).

On April 5th, 2011, nearly 3 years ago, I wrote Jack Meets Max The Cockapoo. Today, I write the follow-up.

We visited our friends, the Scotts, who happen to have a daughter named Parker who is close to your age, as well as a lovable dog who seems to be mutually interesting in you.

I really enjoyed following you, Parker, and Max around the Scotts’ house.

What initially started out as you sort of pestering Max, because you wanted to pet him so much, ended up being for the majority of the visit, a constant chase of Max after you.

Granted, I think some of it is that he was curious to try your organic yogurt-covered raisins.

But I could also see that Max also truly wanted to be your friend.

I loved watching him follow you around.

What I loved even more was the way you so naturally talked to Max, assuming he definitely understood you.

“Follow me, Max. Come this way with us,” I heard you tell him as you and Parker ventured over to the kitchen.

Later on in the morning, as Max was getting bored of being upstairs watching you and Parker in the “jumpy house,” as you call it, you could tell Max wasn’t being himself:

“What’s wrong, Max? Why are you sad? You want to go downstairs?”

For me, it was like watching three children, two are which were actually human. Even I could see, as you so easily did, that Max wanted your friendship and acceptance; and again, your snacks.

I don’t want to make it seem like our family members are huge animal lovers that let dogs lick our mouths. After all, our family doesn’t have a pet. As we put it, “We’re not dog people and we know this.”

However, Max is different.

We’ve known him for about five years now. He’s like the coolest dog ever. So Mommy and I have tossed around the idea… of getting a Cockapoo when you’re a bit older.

We’ll see.

Love,

Daddy 

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Santa Claus and Other White Lies We Tell Our Kids

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

One year.

With good reason, I’ve never been able to legitimately process the double standard of leading a child to believe in Santa Claus while at the same time teaching them not to lie.

It’s interesting how far we have had to stretch the lies, just like with any outrageous falsehood, in order to keep kids believing.

“How does Santa fit down the chimney? How does he fit all the toys in his sleigh? How does he travel the whole world overnight?”

(Insert ridiculous answers here.)

Yes, the legend of Santa Claus was born of Christian folklore, so as a predominately Christian nation, we can rest assured knowing that jolly ole St. Nick has accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. He has been confirmed, baptized, and even has a tattoo of John 3:16 on his arm.

Yet we can’t deny that in the way John Lennon once infamously claimed that the Beatles were bigger than Jesus, the fame of Santa arguably is greater than the actual reason Christmas came to be celebrated in the first place: the birth of Jesus as the prophesied Messiah of the Old Testament.

But can we really get caught up in this particular double standard? Aren’t there other white lies we tell our kids to either A) comfort them or B) entertain them? Yup.

A very traditional white lie I’ve heard parents tell their kids is that when a loved one dies, in particular a grandparent, that person becomes an angel who watches over them in Heaven.

Sorry, the Bible doesn’t say that. I don’t know of any popular religion that actually does.

Besides, what does that even mean? How does Grandpa Murphy “watch over” your kid? Does he part the clouds, look down and see little Jaxon about to run over a stick while riding his bike, so Grandpa sends a few of his buddy angels to kick the stick out of the way just in time, saving Jaxon from crashing his bike?

Sure, the Bible says that there are guardian angels, but we don’t actually become them ourselves after entering Heaven. So it’s a white lie.

It’s a similar thing when a beloved pet dies. Yeah, all dogs go to Heaven, just like that movie that came out when I was in 2nd grade. Cats? Yeah, them too. The goldfish? That’s debatable. Now, let’s stop asking so many questions and finish eating this delicious Hamburger Helper dinner.

Don’t worry, we “helped” that cow go to Heaven quicker and meet all his cow family that were part of those burgers we grilled out last weekend.

Image: Traditional Santa Clause via Shutterstock.

Unexpected Bonus!

Want to read more on the subject? Today I am giving away a copy of the new book, Christmas is Not Your Birthday, to one lucky and curious reader. The book’s author, Mike Slaughter, is the lead pastor of Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church in Tipp City, Ohio.

Through his church’s annual Christmas Miracle Offering, over $5 million has been raised for humanitarian relief in Darfur. If you ask me, this guy sounds like a real life Santa Claus. Not one that gives toys to kids, but instead someone who helps keep them from dying.

Just be the first person to A) leave a comment on this post saying you want it and B) send me an email including your mailing address to nickshell1983@hotmail.com

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Jack the Fearless Vs. the PetCo Cat

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Nine months.

Ever since he was born last November, Jack has never been afraid of anything.  In fact, things that should scare him to the point of crying are actually the things that make him laugh.  On the other hand, when people try to make him laugh by being silly, he just sort of gives a blank stare, as if to say, “What? That’s all ya got?”.

Just to be clear on what doesn’t scare Jack, I often speak to him in my Freddy Krueger voice while making my Freddy Krueger face, saying things like, “How’s this for fine dining?” while feeding him his bottle.  Or during playtime and he’s crawling on the floor I’ll chase him while crawling myself, again in Freddy Krueger mode: “Come here, son.  I eat babies for breakfast!”. And he grunts with delight.

One particularly fun and unsafe game I play with Jack is when I throw a thin blanket over him. As he tries to remove it, waving his arms, he looks like a generic ghost from Scooby Doo. It usually only takes a few seconds for him to reappear and as soon as he does, he’s always laughing.

With that being said, we finally found something that scares Jack. Recently we ate at a restaurant meeting some friends for breakfast.  Oddly enough, the place we ate was adjoined to a PetCo pet store. So we decided to check out the live animals for some Saturday morning entertainment.

Jack loved the dogs, birds, fish, and even the smelly weasels- or were they ferrets?

But on our way out the door, we realized we had totally missed the cats when we had entered the PetCo.  As I held Jack in my arms, walking closer to the caged cats that happened to be at Jack’s eye level, he started crying a different kind of cry than I am used to hearing from him.  It wasn’t “I’m hungry” or “I’m tired.” Instead, it was the rare “I’m scared! Get me out of here!”.

In particular, there was a black cat with green eyes that started creeping toward Jack.  Though in a cage, it really freaked him out.  To be fair, the cat truly was a bit creepy; all panther-like and whatnot.

The fearless and adventurous Indiana Jones was known for being terrified of snakes. Looks like the equally daring Jack has found his weakness in the feline form.

*These pictures were taken at a random mini-amusement park in Lodi, California; the same city that was featured in the 1969 song “Lodi” by Creedence Clearwater Revival, containing the lyrics, “stuck in ole Lodi again.”

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