When you get a gift from me, you might just end up with another pet!
BY RACHEL BITTON
I like to be a thoughtful gift-giver.
Rather than just pass the obligatory $20 bill between siblings and their spouses, I try to buy thoughtful gifts.
A few years ago, I decided to combine my love of bad animal decisions with my love of gift giving. My sweet sister-in-law had wanted a donkey for years, so I set out on a mission to find one! My husband helped me plan the surprise, and I scoured classifieds for weeks on end. My brother accidentally found out when I told him I had the best birthday gift ever for his wife. His first guess was a donkey! One morning, I finally found the perfect donkey at the perfect price. I was so excited, I told the seller we’d be there within the hour. We loaded up my kids, my brother, and his baby girl with the plan to have the donkey back before my sister-in-law got home from work. We laughed and giggled the whole drive on our way to get Thelma the donkey. With barely any time to spare, we got the donkey home and put her in the front yard of my brother’s house. My sister-in-law was shocked but so happy about sweet Thelma. We joke that Thelma was our best bad animal decision. She is expecting her first baby any day now.
Last fall, that same sister-in-law was 38 weeks pregnant when my brother got COVID. Since COVID can be hard on pregnant women, everyone split up. My brother stayed at their house, my sister-in-law moved to her parents, and I took their toddler. My family had recently recovered from COVID so, to protect my sister-in-law and shorten the quarantine time, I had to take the toddler. Having a toddler for 10 days was an adventure. Poor Journie kept telling people she was “stuck at Rachel’s house”. To ease her stress and be the fun aunt, I got her two kittens. We made sure to get them plenty early so she could be really attached to them before sending her home after her quarantine. To add to the fun, we also sent her home with a goat. When my brother and sister-in-law pulled in our driveway after a long 10 days without their little girl, we had all of Journie’s toys, bags, blankets, etc. piled next to the fence. The goat was tied to the fence, and the kittens were in a pet crate, ready to go to their new home. I will never forget the look on my sister-in-law’s face. Being 39 weeks pregnant, three new animals was the last thing she wanted, but, don’t worry, we’re still friends. She enjoys my shenanigans, and she still needed me to watch the toddler again when the new baby came. If you ever want to make a bad animal decision, call me – I am always up for the adventure!