Pets get away with more than people do

The Examiner

I have owned many pets throughout my advancing years, and it always amazes me how their personalities develop.

Annie Dear

Jani, short for Johann Sebastian Ludwig Admanabere Dear – a mouthful I’m sure you would agree when you’re calling a dog for dinner – was the most gorgeous dachshund who positively abounded with personality. His favorite things were anything resembling a ball, and Puss, the cat. Jani could smile and yodel at the same time, and often neighbors must’ve thought we were torturing him, such was his vocal joy at welcoming us home.

When Madam had to miss her first day in second grade due to her recovery from chicken pox, to cheer her up I took her shopping, and what was there in the pet shop window but a dachshund puppy.  Well, that was all she wrote, as far as I was concerned. My husband, I might say, wasn’t thrilled, but all that mattered to me was to put a smile on my little poxy daughter’s face. Ernie became a much loved and welcome addition, and our lab loved him too.

Lexi was a loving adorable dog, and as well trained as she was, she just couldn’t be trained out of her patented method of greeting people. She went straight to the crotch of any visitor – I’m sure while an acceptable behavior among her peers, was not so fab when saying "hi, how are you, how’s the family" to roving members of church groups.

She adored swimming and would launch herself, more often than not completely uninvited, into any given swimming pool, river, ocean, pond – or indeed bath – whenever she could.  Little Ernie would bravely follow, but had to be rescued several times as his idea of swimming was to walk along the bottom.

Many, many cats were part of my life, several being born just before Madam arrived. I told the doc I really had a good handle in childbirth but assured him I was not going to consume the placenta, to which he quite wryly remarked "don’t speak too soon, you haven’t tasted hospital food yet."

And now we have Braveheart and Little Herbie – or Lump and Squeak as Sir insists on calling them. Herbie is a female and acts for all the world like a lioness. She’s into everything, she will investigate every new phenomenon with feline precision, and is obviously a Type A personality. She’ll hunt out anything – from the errant bug all the way through to a suspicious piece of fluff. Fluff should consider itself stalked when Herbie’s on the prowl.

Braveheart, on the other hand, is the lion. He just lazes around and expects Herbie to do the hunting of stray flies, mosquitoes and interesting crinkly things. But Braveheart has developed a new and potentially quite embarrassing trait.

We’ve discovered he has an underwear fetish. More specifically, my knickers. He will steal them, warm from the dryer and will bring them down to the living room for closer inspection and dissection.

Just thought I’d better warn any roving church groups.

Annie Dear lives in Lee’s Summit. Email her at