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The Weirdest Kid

July 6, 2015

My son, David, has always been an animal-lover. I know. Lots of people are. In fact, I’m convinced all the best people are, David & Badgerbut David’s a bit goofy about it. I mean that in a good way. I’m incredibly proud of the man my son has become.

He has a whole houseful of pets and they all have distinct personalities. I won’t list them all here. Today, I just want to tell you about Badger, the Jack Russell Terrier. That’s him with David in the picture on the left. Rarely do you catch him in such a quiet moment. He’s usually a study in perpetual motion and is one crazy dog.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Badger, but sometimes he can be too much of a good thing. (I seem to remember thinking the same thing of David when he was little. You’d never guess from the photo what an intrepid little boy he was.)

I grew up surrounded by pets. (I’m pretty sure David inherited his pet-loving gene from my mother, who had a huge heart and was always ready to move over and make room for any creature in need of a little TLC.)  Still, looking back over the years and the critters I’ve known, Badger wins the prize for the most individual. To say he is excitable is gross understatement. He can (and does) jump four feet straight up (at least) and can do it an uncountable number of times without stopping. He’s probably the most loving dog I’ve ever known (and that’s saying a lot). Every morning, as soon as he wakes up, he goes through the house and touches noses with all the other pets. Visitors to my son’s home are routinely greeted with a display of Badger’s athletic ability, followed by a series of sloppy kisses and, when you sit down, Badger is immediately on your lap, jumping for joy – a mixed blessing. I usually have bruises all over my legs after an afternoon of Badger’s lap-dancing. As I said, too much of a good thing.

Once, when I’d had more than enough doggy love, I asked David why he loved Badger so much – more, I could tell, than McGee, his majestic Black Lab, or any of his four cats. His answer: “Think about it, Mom. If you had a whole bunch of kids and one of them was a little weird and you knew other people didn’t like him much, wouldn’t you love that one the most?”

That answer stopped me cold. I knew he was right. Most of us love the weirdest kid the most. I try to remember about that when I’m writing. Characters need a bit of weirdness if they are to engage a reader’s heart. One of the better parts of human nature is our instinct to cheer for the underdog. We like to give our love where it’s most needed and, when we’re reading, we like to see our characters overcome their inner demons as well as the foe from without.

One thing I have to add: I would be remiss if I didn’t give a nod to Sue, David’s life partner, and a real sweetheart. As you can imagine, she puts up with a lot. I’ll even give her the ultimate compliment and say she reminds me of my mother.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 6, 2015 5:38 PM

    What a lovely post, Sandy. Your son’s answer (about why he loves Badger so much) touched my heart. He is a wise man indeed!

  2. Grace Topping permalink
    July 6, 2015 6:06 PM

    Dogs have a way of burrowing into your heart. While my husband and I raised our two daughters, we were so busy with work, after school activities, etc. so my husband said no pets. Well, as you can imagine, the first thing both girls did when they left home was to each get a dog. So who ends up taking care of them a great deal of the time? Us. We’ve come to love them, and give in to quite a few of the things that we thought we would never allow (sitting on the sofa, etc.). They’ve become our granddogs.

    • July 6, 2015 7:24 PM

      I had to laugh when I read this, Grace. We’ve had a number of pets over the years and they always got away with a lot more than we had intended. Like you, we end up taking care of David’s pets too. When he and Sue need a getaway, we usually just go to their place to stay and commute home to care for our cat.

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