My ideal . . . pet


I was in my bedroom the other day, guessing what my name would be had I the good fortune to be born to Mathew and Tina Knowles instead of my actual parents, Monique and Diamanté Higgins. I’ve never been thrilled with the name Maeve, combining, as it does, mauve and navy – nobody’s favourite colours. I began to feel down about myself, and jealous of Solange, so I decided instead to imagine the ideal pet.

Bear in mind when choosing a companion animal that you will, after a time, come to resemble it. I’ve been described, by myself, in the past as tawny and long-limbed, with a throaty laugh. I’m not saying I own a giraffe, but have you seen my bangin’ bod and black tongue?

A pet should be a diverting conversation point. Say your neighbour calls around to resolve some conflict or other. When they inevitably bleat “You stole our paddling pool”, simply point out that you needed it for your little otter that happens to have a bill and is, in fact, a platypus. Time spent training Abigail to lay eggs on command will serve you well here. Simply shout your code word (“egg time” or “shoot”) and watch your ignorant friends have their minds blown. They will forget all about the pool, and their missing post.

Ideally, you and your pet will have similar interests. For example, my sister goes running with her Alsatian and they both enjoy watching Top Gear. Jokes! They can’t stand Clarkson.

A pet should be sweet-natured and non-violent. We’ve all heard the story about the little girl who got a polar bear cub for her birthday. You know, that girl with no face – just a body and a space with a voice. A voice that tells us not to let bears in the house.

In the past I’ve been guilty of treating my pets as substitute children. I spoiled them and controlled them and tried to make them live out my dreams. I pinned my hopes on one particular cat baby, Little Edie. “You can achieve anything,” I’d tell her as I sat her up and fastened her bonnet. “You could be a nurse.”

I would then slap myself across the face for being sexist and correct myself by saying “Or a doctor, sweetheart, you could be a doctor.”

In the end, Little Edie didn’t even go to university. Instead she loafs around the place, snacking gently throughout the day and glaring at people who suggest that maybe she’s eaten enough. Daughters do indeed become their mothers.

In return for being the one creature I won’t put in a slow cooker with some herbs, my dream pet will always have my back. It will laugh at my jokes and be available for cuddles 24/7/365. When that year is up, I will pop it in the slow cooker, and begin the search all over again.

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