The boys are eager for a pet. Unfortunately the low-maintenance kinds (frogs, turtles, ducks) that we have already had do not seem to count. A real pet, I am told, moves about freely on four limbs, reciprocates a boy's playful antics and makes noise.
So we found one. He was rather expensive, but we do intend to keep him for a long time. He is a mutt and we affectionately refer to him as The Fritz. He meets all the specified qualifications* and some more:
moves on all fours*,
responds with joy to energetic boy-action*,
growls, grunts and squeels*
claws, rips and swallows school papers and various craft materials,
chews on books, shoes (Crocs apparently taste best) and USB cords,
hunts for crumbs under the table,
drools and leaves splotches of saliva all over the floor,
has a curly Mohawk to pet,
is adored by all in the house,
and the boys fight over who gets to sleep in his room,
and the boys fight over who gets to feed him,
and the boys fight over who gets to wipe up his drool,
and the boys fight over who gets to watch him,
and the boys fight over who gets to hold him,
and the boys fight over who gets to play with him next...
Ahhhhh what chaotic joy. Four owners. Four personalities. Four better or four worse.
Here's how it is:
Owner#1: Responsible... yet his way is the only way.
Owner#2: Has a different view on life all-together.
Owner#3: Smiles life's troubles away. Beware: smile instantly turns to sword if crossed.
Owner#4: Independent, determined, look-of-innocence (until proven guilty... which he often is.)
At least the Concept of Belonging will not likely be one that The Fritz will seek therapy for in 20 years. He may, however, have to sift through the confusing emotional residue of labels such as "favorite" and "mutt".