Snakes and Snails and Puppy-Dog Tails

“Daddy, someone’s comin’!” called Ginny.

Ash froze. He shouldn’t have — this time last year, he wouldn’t have — but this time last year, he was reasonably certain that his fellow Sims were prepared to live and let live where the kingdom’s Plantsims were concerned. Now, after Thorn’s kidnapping … and Lady Morgause’s trial … well, it was hard to be sure. Maybe some were glad that somebody, anybody was willing to stand up to the menace that was Lady Morgause.

Maybe some thought that everyone who wasn’t a perfectly normal Sim wasn’t any different than she.

And while it would be one thing if he could be assured that those Sims would only go after those who were different, he couldn’t be assured. Mobs were never choosy. He had a family to protect.

Ash swallowed and tried to keep his voice calm and steady. “Well, who is it?”

“Dunno!” Ginny called merrily as she continued to skip. Well, surely if it was a torch-carrying mob, even Ginny would pick up on the latent hostility — right? “It’s a family, though!”

A family. If only that could be a comfort. But there were some — plenty — who brought their children to witch-burnings, so why not bring one’s children to run the local Plantsim out of town?

“Oh! And there’s a doggie!” Ginny gasped.

“Ginny, don’t move!” Ash barked. All his mind’s eye could see was his friendly, dreamy daughter running up to pet the puppy, which was in reality a flesh-eating rabid beast —

Ginny’s eyes were enormous as Ash ran to her side. “Daddy?”

“Ginny, don’t …” One hand on her shoulder, ready to jump in front of her if need be, ready to yell for Lyndsay to grab the other kids and run out the back, he looked down the road.

And relaxed.

“Ginny!” Ash tousled her hair. “Don’t ye recognize the Pelleses?”

“The Pelleses?” Ginny’s eyes went wide as she looked down the road again. She squinted. “Mama Betsy!”

“Oh, an’ what are Davy an’ me, chopped liver?” called Martin.

“Chopped …?” Ginny asked, looking up at Ash.

“It’s jest a funny sayin’, sweetie. Ho, Mast–Martin!” Ash called back even as he guided Ginny forward to meet them halfway. “What brings ye all the way ter this neck o’ the woods?”

“Oh, we were in the neighborhood …” Martin chuckled. They shook hands. “How are ye? How’s yer wife?”

“Well, well. An’ ye?”

“Oh, nothin’ ter complain about,” Martin shrugged. What a good liar that man was. Ash knew damn well that Betsy had been fired for daring to help Thorn when he needed it. He didn’t want to consider how Sir Mordred was tormenting them now that Lady Morgause had been convicted and sentenced. The only thing that helped him sleep at night were the “wards” Lady Morgan had put on the property, magic that she swore would either keep Sir Mordred away or give them enough notice that he was coming that they would be able to escape.

“Is that your doggie?” Ginny asked Betsy.

“Aye, ’tis.”

“Can I pet him?” she wheedled.

“O’ course ye can,” Betsy replied. Ginny squealed and started to pat the dog, while Davy stood beside her and solemnly spoke of the dog’s friendliness and how Ginny shouldn’t be afraid, even if she was a girl.

Ash smiled, then asked Martin, “Where are yer other lads? Yer — baby, Bert, an’ Ella’s boy?”

“Ella’s boy!” Martin laughed. “Bess, should we tell ‘im that’s how he’s known in these parts? ‘Ella’s boy’!”

Before Ash could protest or clarify, the door creaked open and Thorn hurried out. “Mama Betsy!”

He froze halfway down the steps. “A dog!”

“He’s really friendly, Thorn!” Ginny giggled. “He licked me in the fact already!”

“Marley likes everybody,” Davy agreed.

Poor Thorn stood frozen on the stairs, gaze volleying between his savior and the dog with its wagging tail. He compromised, finally, by leaping down the stairs, hugging Betsy around the waist for a fraction of a heartbeat, and then running to pet the dog, who obligingly rolled onto his back for a bellyrub.

“Kid loves dogs,” Ash remarked, shaking his head, as Betsy chuckled over his antics. “Even I didn’t know how much until … well, ye know.”

“Aye,” Martin agreed.

The next body to come flying out the door was Bran’s, and he barely managed a polite greeting before he, too, started to rub Marley’s belly. The dog’s feet pumped in the air in ecstasy.

“It’s a good dog fer kids, ain’t it?” Ash remarked.

Very good with kids,” Martin agreed.

“I suppose yers must love ‘im ter death?”

“Oh, mine …” Martin waved his hand dismissively. “Say, Ash,” Martin continued in a low tone, “d’ye think the lad,” he nodded to Thorn, “might like the dog?”

Ash froze. “… Eh?”

“Well, it’s jest …” Martin scratched the back of his head. “He’s one o’ the last litter our bitch whelped. Now, we usually sells the pups once they get big enough an’ we’ve taught ’em ter heel an’ come an’ ter do their business outside, but Betsy an’ me, we was thinkin’ … well, we knowed how much Thorn likes dogs, so we thought maybe …” Martin shrugged.

“Martin, ye can’t be serious,” Ash gasped. “That’s a fine dog. Ye’d jest — give it away?”

“Bah, it’s a regular mutt he is,” Martin scoffed, waving his hand. “Marley ain’t nothin’ special — leastaways, as the world values dogs. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a fine ratter an’ as good a watch dog as any — barks up a storm if a spider crosses the threshold — but ye can find half-a-dozen dogs jest like Marley fer sale at any fair. So’s we really ain’t givin’ up much, if ye think about it. But ter a little boy, a dog like that is the sun an’ moon an’ stars all in one — only better, ’cause last I checked, the sun an’ moon an’ stars don’t come down an’ roll in the mud with a lad.”

“Ye’ve got three lads o’ yer own …”

“Bah! Bert, he can’t run fast enough ter catch the dogs yet, ‘cepting Sic — the bitch — who jest lets ‘im pull on her ears an’ he’s happy as a clam. Lukas is practically a man. An’ Davy, he’s got Leroy — Marley’s sire — an’ Sic, an’ any more litters they have, ter keep him happy.”

“Still, ye’d jest give the dog ter us?” Ash gasped — a little too loudly, he realized a moment later, as Thorn, Bran and Ginny all stopped playing with the dog and turned to him with eyes as bit as some of the biggest knots in the treehouse.

“Give the dog ter us?” Ginny breathed slowly.

“Really?” Bran echoed.

“Ye would?” Thorn gasped to Betsy.

“Well, now …” Betsy started, turning to Ash with a look of mute appeal. But Ash could only shrugged.

So she smiled and turned back to Thorn. “Well, me an’ Master Martin were thinkin’ about it, we were.”

“Ye were?” Thorn asked, bouncing from foot to foot in his excitement.

“But …”

Thorn slumped.

“Well, we’d be happy ter give him ter ye, we really would,” Betsy continued, pushing Thorn’s hair back with a motherly gesture that had to be second nature to her even when she was Thorn’s age. “But at the end o’ the day, it’s up ter yer auntie an’ uncle, o’ course. But if they say yes, he’s –”

“Oh, say yes, Daddy!” Ginny pleaded.

“Aye, please, Da!” Bran jumped up and down.

“Pretty please!”

“Pretty please with a cherry on top!” Bran topped his sister.

“Pretty pretty please with a cherry on top!” Ginny added, not to be outdone, grabbing Ash around the waist and hugging him with her most winning smile.

“Er …” Ash started, needing every last scrap of his self-control not to glare at the Pelles for managing to get all his kids to mob him at once. With his luck, Betony would come crawling out any second now and make her first word “doggie.”

Will ye, Uncle Ash?” Thorn begged, adding his best sad-puppy face to the mixture.

Even the dog was turning puppy eyes on him!

“Well …” Ash murmured, patting Ginny’s hair and trying to think of some kind of stalling tactic, “well, takin’ care o’ a dog is a lot o’ work …”

“Ye won’t have ter do anythin’, Uncle Ash! I’ll do it! I’ll walk ‘im an’ feed ‘im an’ play with ‘im an’ clean up after ‘im an’ teach ‘im ter fetch an’ sit an’ stay an’ — oh, say yes, Uncle Ash! Pleeeeeeeease!

“Er … I can’t say nothin’ without axin’ yer Auntie Lyndsay …” Ash tried to stall.

“Mama!” Bran called, running into the tree.

Oh, bloody hell! It was all Ash could do to keep from smacking himself in the forehead. Lyndsay was going to have his head before this was over, he was sure of it.

He glanced sidelong at Martin, and sidelong at the dog. The dog whined and wagged his tail. Ash sighed. “He … he don’t eat too much, do he?”

Ginny, doubtless sensing that victory was at hand, squealed and skipped away.

Luckily Martin was prepared to answer the question seriously. “Well, like I said, he’s a good ratter, an’ with all these critters ’round yer tree, he ought ter be able ter keep himself well fed if he wants ter be. An’ he’ll be right pleased with any table scraps ye give ‘im, as well.” Martin smiled a little. “Though I wouldn’t tell the kids that, if I was ye. Their peas would disappear right fast, they would, but they wouldn’t be goin’ in their bellies.”

“Actually they like peas,” Ash murmured, if only to have something to say that wasn’t either yes or no. “It’s broccoli that’s the battle.”

“Ye don’t call ’em little trees? That’s what Bess used ter do when Joyce an’ Lukas wouldn’t eat it. An’ what she’ll probably do again, if Bert decides he don’t like ’em much.”

“That’s the trouble,” Ash sighed. “Lyndsay did call ’em little trees. An’ somehow … between one thing an’ another … well, somehow it got inter their heads that eatin’ broccoli is like … committin’ murder.”

Martin’s eyes only just had time to bug out before the door opened for the third time and Lyndsay stepped onto the threshold. “Now, what’s all this racket?” she asked, shifting Betony on her hip. “An’ why is Bran axin’ if we could get a dog?”

“Er …” Ash started.

“Oh, Mama, look, look!” Ginny jumped up and down. “Look at Marley!”

“Mar–” Lyndsay began. “The dog?”

“Aye! Isn’t he a cute doggie?”

Lyndsay smiled her greetings to Martin and Betsy, put Betony down, and let Ginny drag her to where Marley was wagging his tail and whining. Lyndsay patted him. “How nice. Good dog, now.”

Ash sidled over to Betony and began to play peek-a-boo with her. Was it cowardly to use his baby daughter as a human shield against the coming blast? Absolutely.

Would it stop him? Absolutely not.

“Well, it’s awful nice o’ ye ter come by,” Lyndsay said to Martin. “Ain’t it a far walk?”

“Eh, we were in the neighborhood.”

“In the … neighborhood?”

“Oh, don’t mind him!” Betsy laughed, hooking her arm through her husband’s. “That’s jest his way o’ talkin’. It’s not a short walk, but it’s a pleasant one on a day this nice. Er, I hope ye don’t mind us stoppin’ by …?”

“Of course not, of course not. Can I get ye somethin’–”

“Auntie, Auntie!” Thorn, finally having enough, tugged Lyndsay’s hand. “Can we keep him? Can we? Can we?”

Here it comes … Ash thought, perhaps hiding behind his hands longer than was strictly necessary.

“Thorn! Ye know ye’re not ter interrupt grown-ups talking!”

“I know, but, but! Can we?” Thorn danced from foot to foot. “Please? Pretty please? Pretty pretty please with a –”

Lyndsay held up her hand. “Keep who?”


“The dog?” Lyndsay’s knit her brows together. “Oh, don’t be silly. Master an’ Mistress Pelles will be takin’ Marley home with them.”

“No, they said we could keep ‘im! If you an’ Uncle Ash said yes, an’ Uncle Ash said yes!”

“Oh, did he?” Lyndsay asked in that sort of tone that every adult in earshot knew was a snarl, though the children might be blissfully unaware.

“I did not!” Ash yelped, jumping to his feet.

“Well, maybe not,” Thorn sighed. “But he did say he couldn’t say nothin’ until he axed ye!”

“Aye, Mummy!” Ginny chimed in. “That means Daddy can’t think o’ no more reason ter say no! So can we keep him? Pretty please?”

When did they get so darn smart? Ash wondered as Lyndsay murmured, “Well, we’ll see. Ash? A word?”

With that she grabbed his arm, her fingers having each the strength of a bear trap, and pulled him somewhat out of earshot. “A dog?” she hissed, rounding on him.

“It’s awful nice o’ the Pelleses ter offer ter give ‘im ter us,” Ash hedged. “They was gonna sell ‘im. An’ ye know that she lost her job …”

“Ash! We got three kids an’ a baby! When are we gonna have time fer a dog?”

“The kids’ll take care o’ the dog.”

“Oh, Lord! Every kid since the beginnin’ o’ time has said that! An’ ye know who’s ended up takin’ care o’ the dog?”

“Lyndsay –”

“The ma, that’s who!” Lyndsay hissed.

“Well, I wouldn’t know that,” Ash finally snapped, “never havin’ been a kid, meself.”

“Oh, Ash –”

“Lyndsay, it’s a dog, not another baby. Dogs is close to wolves, ain’t they? An’ wolves take care o’ themselves all the time. It won’t be too much work. An’ if it is — well, I’ll do it, so don’t ye worry none about it.”

“Can we afford a dog?” Lyndsay challenged, switching tactics.

“O’ course we can. Think o’ that money Sir Mordred’s got ter pay ter Thorn. We can use it ter care fer the dog.”

“Ash!” Lyndsay hissed. “We was gonna invest that money!”

“Invest …” Ash sighed. “I still don’t get what it is ye want ter do wit it.”

“Use it ter make more, help the whole family out — look, I know ye want ter jest put it away an’ use it ter ‘prentice Thorn when he gets old enough, but ye know as well as I do that somethin’ will come up an’ — oh, fer Wright’s sake!” Lyndsay sighed. “That’s neither here nor there. An’ it’s got nothin’ ter do with the dog.”

“Thorn wants the dog,” Ash replied. “An’ the money’s Thorn’s.”

“Ash –”

Look at ‘im, Lyndsay.”

Lyndsay looked.

He was still playing with the dog, still petting it, still loving it. And the dog was loving him, barking, jumping, wagging its tail, licking Thorn whenever Thorn was in reach. Lyndsay sighed before she rounded again on her husband. “Ash –”

“Think o’ what that kid’s been through, Lyndsay. No, don’t think about it, jest let me tell ye: hell. That kid’s been through hell. An’ now he thinks his best an’ happiest dream jest dropped inter his lap. Are ye really gonna take it away from him?”

Lyndsay bit her lip and looked again that Thorn. “This ain’t … jest about him,” she murmured. “It’s about the whole family, it is.”

But with that Ash knew she was weakening. “Bran an’ Ginny love the dog already. An’ I told ye I’ll do all the work. He seems like a gentle enough dog too, Lyndsay. So I wouldn’t worry about him an’ Betony.”

“An’ what about other babies?”

“Lyndsay, the Pelleses got a baby about Betony’s age. The dog’s used ter babies. Ye think Martin an’ Betsy would be givin’ him ter us if –” Ash stopped, hearing baby-laughter. Betony?

Betony was getting what was possibly her most pleasant — and to her parents, most disgusting — face-washing of her life.

“Oh, hell!” Lyndsay muttered under her breath. “Even the baby loves the dog! All right, fine, Ash Thatcher, ye win this one.”

“Er … thank ye?”

“But ye’re takin’ all the care o’ that dog that the kids don’t take!” Lyndsay continued. “Every last walk, every last feedin’ every last bath, an’ Lord knows every last clean-up! ‘Cause I ain’t doin’ it!”

“I know, Lyndsay, I ain’t axin’ ye to.”

Lyndsay sniffed. “Hmph. An’ ye’re lucky, mister, that I ain’t gonna make ye get on yer hands an’ knees and scrub when that dog tracks mud over me nice clean floor.”

“Yes, dear.”

She shot another baleful glare at him — then, almost in spite of herself, she smiled. “An’ if there’s any justice in this world, that dog will follow ye around everywhere, when he’s not followin’ Thorn, that is.”

“Hey, wait, what? Me? Why me? Lyn–”

But Lyndsay had sailed past him and meandered to Betsy. “Well, Betsy, an’ Martin! We’ve got ter thank ye fer yer generosity. The kids will love the dog, they will. Now, I don’t suppose I can tempt ye an’ yer lad inter stayin’ fer dinner?”

And so the Thatcher circle grew by one that day.


13 thoughts on “Snakes and Snails and Puppy-Dog Tails

  1. Thorn got a dog! Yay! I know you said that he would in one of your comments to Hat, but I am so glad. So glad. I was a little irritated with Lyndsay though, yeah, I understand her thoughts but it seems a little selfish, after everything, to think of herself before anyone else.

    And the comment about Ash not thinking of the family? Yeah, I don’t agree. She was quick to think of herself and the extra work and money the dog would cost before she thought of the rest of them. >_<'

    But rather than lingering on that, I'll just say "Yay!" to Thorn getting a dog. And obviously a very nice dog at that. And yay! to the Pelles for thinking of giving him one. πŸ˜€

    • Sorry I didn’t reply to these earlier — last night I got a little carried away in making my SS gift for the Keep. It’s still not close to done, but I’m making progress!

      I think Lyndsay had a point — they certainly haven’t discussed getting a dog, and as the mom, a lot of the care of the pet might ultimately devolve to her. This was sprung on her out of nowhere and she was trying to put the brakes on and think about it before she agreed to something that could be a lot of work and expense. Even Ash was hesitant about the dog at first.

      As for thinking of the rest of the family … Lyndsay does think about the rest of the family, just perhaps not in the most warm-and-fuzzy way. Her plan to invest at least some of the money that they’ll get because of what happened to Thorn could make a huge difference in the family’s social status. (Especially because it involves buying a community-lot business, and not to brag, but I’m good with community-lot businesses.) She’s a Fortune sim and she’s got ambitions.

      But yes — yay!! to the dog!

      Thanks Andavri!

  2. I will say that a dog is kind of an iffy present most of the time, but you know, in this case? It’s also the most appropriate present ever. (I can also understand where Lindsay is coming from, having been around both times my father brought home a dog my mother wasn’t entirely ready for it. Did not go over super-well, although less because of the expense than because… well, dogs aren’t what you’d call unobtrusive pets, and Dad has never really been interested in dogs under seventy pounds. And didn’t exactly think about whether a husky/black lab/pit bull/malamute/wolf mix would get along well with cats (luckily, she loved them once she stopped being terrified of them).) Thorn deserves a dog, and… well, that’s pretty much the long and short of it. And there’s the added bonus of ‘barks up a storm if a spider crosses the threshold.’ A little advance warning about that torch-waving mob Ash worries about.

    … Really, though the Thatchers will be lucky if everybody watching that trial who has or will have or knows of a litter of puppies doesn’t drop by offering Thorn pick of the litter.

    • I come from a household where the only pet we got was a hermit crab — because my brother went and bought one when we were staying with my grandparents and my parents gave in and let him keep it. We never had a dog, or a cat, or anything, for reasons a lot like Lyndsay’s. So, yeah, I do see Lyndsay’s point-of-view.

      Besides, I’ve probably heard too many, “A puppy is for life, not for Christmas” messages to ever advocate somebody doing what Betsy and Martin did in real life! At least pixel pets get taken by animal welfare and are put into a guaranteed no-kill shelter if their owners don’t take care of them.

      But you’re right that Thorn deserves that dog. If any kid deserves a dog, it’s him! If nothing else, if he’s got a dog he loves to pieces (and who lives him) at home, he won’t be as tempted to follow any crazy witches in the woods after being promised a puppy.

      Now I just need to figure out how to make the dog’s age work with your aging mod, because the SimBlender doesn’t allow pets to be aged-up-and-down, last I checked …

      Thanks, Hat! πŸ™‚

  3. Ash’s fear for his household is so sad. That he used to be so comfortable in his position, even if he knew it was practically the very bottom of the totem pole of society, as it were, and now he’s so unsure is really bad. 😦 But I hope that the Pelleses visit and any subsequent ones improve his outlook. And I’m so happy that Thorn got a lovely dog like he wanted πŸ˜€ As Hat said, Marley forewarning the family of anyone hostile (or anyone at all) approaching should hopefully reassure Ash.

    Lyndsay reacted a bit nastily, in my opinion, because she automatically seemed to get extremely angry (which wasn’t going to solve the problem at all) but at the same time I do understand her concerns, it just does seem as though, despite being a mother of three and kind of mother to Thorn, she sees the kids as objects to take care of and doesn’t consider any of the family’s feelings apart from her own (which seems to be annoyance at everyone and everything who makes the slightest deviance from her own expectations of the day).

    Emma x

    • Out of curiosity, Emma, do you kids? As a mom, let me tell you that although your kids or spouse or what-have-you says they’ll do something, you can bet you’ll end up finishing it. So yeah, I think her anger was justified given that she’s a mother to three, the youngest of which is starting to get into everything, so she’s run ragged off her feet trying to keep everyone fed, clean, and relatively happy, AND maintain a house, and now said children and spouse want a dog. A dog that, sure, they’ll love and adore, but when it comes to cleaning up his messes or making sure he’s fed? It’s all on her. I would react with anger, too.

      But I am very, very glad that Thorn got his dog. And I think once she gets used to having him around or he protects the house from a robber or someone looking for revenge, Lyndsay will be happy with him, too.

      • Granted, no, I’m not a mother, nor am I the person you were asking. But I do remember being a kid and having pets. *gets out cane and dentures and pulls up rocking chair* you’re about to get hit with one of those lovely “when I was a kid” reminiscences:

        I’m the youngest of two kids, my brother is about eighteen months older than I am. However when I was about Bran’s age, (six to about nine) my mom ran a daycare center so between four and eight kids under the age of ten in the house most of the live long day. Plus we had my little cousin (who was about Betony’s age) stay with us most nights because my tia worked an eight to five shift.

        I can’t remember a time when we didn’t have a pet of some sort and I can also tell you that my mother almost never ended up taking care of those pets. Especially once the pets moved from general family pet to being specifically mine or my brother’s.

        My mom grew up with pets. JosΓ©, however, didn’t. He had ten brothers and sisters crammed into a four bedroom house, what did they need a zoo for?

        It was his rule that if we were going to have pets then we were going to take care of them. We had from the time we got home from school to the time we sat down to dinner to feed our pets or or we didn’t get to eat dinner. Lemme tell you, that’ll make you remember to feed the dog pretty damn quick.

        Also we lost privileges if we didn’t remember to clean up after our pets. If he had to remind either Michael or I to clean the yard/the litter box, we would lose TV privileges for the night the first time, bike privileges for the weekend if he had to remind us a second time, and got grounded for a week if it happened a third time.

        And considering we didn’t get that many privileges to begin with and lost all of them when grounded, we were excellent about remembering to clean the yard.

        Actually getting grounded once at my house meant you almost never forgot whatever stupid thing that you did or didn’t do to get grounded in the first place. Because not only did we lose our rather limited tv time, we lost bikes, books, toys, even access to our preferred types of music. And we got extra chores on top of it. If nothing else there was a seemingly endless amount of wood and/or silver, glass, and china to polish in the house.

        After a week of going to bed early, getting up early to go to church before school, (no bus, so we had to walk when it was still dark out), along with having to go to early services on Sunday, even if I had choir or Michael was altar boy for one of the later services (we just ended up going to church twice) coming home to have nothing to do except homework, housework, reading the bible and listening to hymns sung in Latin, I can happily say that we almost never made the same mistake twice.

        But the biggest point of this lovely reminiscence is: If nothing else all JosΓ©’s rules taught us at least some accountability for our actions. (I remember to feed the dog and the cats better than I remember to feed me.)

        I’m not saying that JosΓ©’s way was good, bad, or indifferent. (I, for one, if I ever do change that “No, I’m not a mother” statement, will at least try and find some way other than the one I grew up with to teach responsibility to my own children. I don’t know that I could go through eighteen more years of hearing hymns and “Mama, what is this word? And why would Moses do that?”)

        But it seems to me that there ought to be a way that Lyndsay can foster accountability for that dog in her kids rather than whining about how they shouldn’t have one because taking care of it might fall to her. Maybe I’m wrong.

        • I love reminiscing! πŸ™‚ Your childhood sounds somewhat similar to mine- we had very few privileges (grew up in the mountains, so no internet, random power outages, nowhere to go without a car, etc.), too. My parents would leave a list of things that had to be done before they came home (not called “chores” because then we would expect an “allowance” *laugh*), and if they weren’t, we lost the few privileges we had (video games, access to the remote, MY BOOKS!!! *sob*). But taking care of the pets wasn’t on the list. Ever.

          Our dogs were very well-behaved, but when they were hungry, they let you know. Our cats were, in general, the typical feline- they ignored us until they wanted something, so we were covered there. I cleaned the litter box as often as I could because it was in MY bathroom and the vent, for some reason, went directly into my room instead of outside, so the smell would carry really, really well. As for the rest of the pets? Well, the goats and sheep made enough noise to wake the neighborhood when they were hungry, and the chickens would start to kill each other if I forgot to feed them, so yeah, they weren’t a problem, either.

          My parents did have to get on our cases a little bit to clean up after the dogs in the yard so that my brother could mow, but after one time when we forgot and he mowed anyway (and the ensuing mess plastered onto the house that we had to scrub away ourselves), we never forgot to again!

          Anyway, my point was simply that if Lyndsay makes it an expectation that the dog will be taken care of, you’re probably right that she won’t have to worry about it anymore. But I don’t really see Lyndsay being so rational. She seems a little strung out. *laugh*

    • It is sad that Ash is so afraid, Emma. 😦 But in a way it’s kind of natural. Thorn’s kidnapping really did underscore his position in society: Thorn was picked because he was least likely to be missed, or if he was missed, the people who would miss him were not in a position to hurt Morgause. (Or so she thought. She was wrong, but it was perfectly logical for her to think that. It would have worked in Glasonland.) And now, of course, that the littlest and least and lowest of the little, least and low has taken out Morgause … well, there could be negative fallout from that as well. Suddenly they’re on the radar, not just those kooky tree-living people who might be weird but, eh, they’re not doing anybody any harm.

      I guess I don’t necessarily see Lyndsay’s reaction as that bad because, well, I lived with that reaction. Never had a pet, ever, and I think I turned out ok. They are a lot of work, if you care for them properly, and if you don’t care for them properly, well, that’s just inhumane. I think she also had justifiable reason to fear that the care would fall onto her. Like Naomi says … the person who ends up picking up everybody’s slack tends to be Mom. Lyndsay’s already got a lot on her plate with three kids, a nephew, the possibility of more nieces and nephews if Marigold gets knocked up again, her job at the Onion, taking care of the house (though not the garden, that’s Ash’s and the kids’ job), she wants to open up a flower stall to help her kids get a good start in life, oh, and I think she’s pregnant again in-game.

      With all that on my plate, I’d be ready to kill the person who sprung a dog on me too — and I love dogs! And cats, too!

      And never having had a pet makes me less likely to buy the pets-foster-responsibility argument, however much it might have worked for you guys. Because, yeah, maybe if you’re super strict about it, you can use that pet to foster responsibility. If you’re like Lyndsay and run ragged before dawn, the last thing you want to be doing is nagging more people to do more things because they can’t just do it right the first time. That makes you look like the bad guy even though they wanted the pet.

      But if you’ll notice, she did come around — and she came around rather quickly, too, when she saw Betony loving the dog to death already. Seems to me that in the end, she did end up putting her family’s preferences before her own, even if she did protest about it at first.

      *shrugs* But what do I know? I just write this thing. πŸ˜‰ Interpretation, that’s your job! πŸ˜‰

      Thanks Emma, Naomi and everybody!

  4. Well, Thorn has been through so much…. he deserves to have one of his biggest dreams fulfilled. But, it also is true that usually mothers end up having to care for the children’s pets. :-p

    • Poor kid really has been through the wringer, so he does deserve a bit of joy in his life. But yeah, I think Lyndsay has some valid points to. However — Thorn now has his puppy, and all is well with the world! πŸ˜‰

      Thanks, Saquina! And happy New Year, by the way!

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