Author: Rachel Sievers

Grabbing the rolled-up paper she batted the animal on the nose. Sighing with frustration she turned to her neighbor, “these humans are so cute when they are little but they are such a pain when they get older.”
“That’s why we get them as pets when they’re little. I forget how quickly they grow and become monsters.”
“I cannot tell you how many times I have thought of dropping this one off at the shelter.”
“Petunia Rose you wouldn’t!”
“Of course I wouldn’t, but if there was ever a human that has driven me closest to it, it is this one.”
“Are you having a hard time potty-training?”
“No, it took to that rather fast, within its first few months in the cage, but it’s the escapes.”
“Oh no, that’s the worse. Did you adopt it older?”
“Yes, we had a hard time getting a younger one. You know their planet is dying, they destroy everything they touch.”
“You don’t have to tell me.”
“Yes, but anyway, I was worried there wouldn’t be as many shipments coming anymore with the planet’s death and so I settled for an older one. You know, my kids have been begging me for one for years.”
“You are such a good mom.”
“Well, I try. But of course, just like I thought, they have no interest in it now that the novelty has worn off. I can barely get the children to walk it and feed it.”
“Kids.”
“I know.”
The pair sipped their tea in quiet contemplation until the human started to take off again towards the white fence that separated the neighbors’ lawns. Yanking on the lead the human fell backward tumbling to the ground. “Now come here,” she said and the human walked towards her. “There’s a good girl.” She said and ran her fingers over the brown hair, her fingers came back a bit dirty, she would need to have the kids bath the thing.
“She seems pretty mild-mannered to me.” Her neighbor said, “she came when you called, that’s something. I swear, it took mine ages to learn that trick.”
“I guess she did, and like I said, she potty-trained in a decent amount of time. I think she is rather smart but just obstinate.”
“Did you hear about what Aspen did?”
“Aspen from three doors down or Aspen from around the block.”
“Around the block,” her neighbor said and they shared a knowing smile. “Well, she finally got a buzzing device for her human. The silly thing wouldn’t stop making this high-pitched noise. You know she adopted hers from a shelter.”
“Oh, that explains a lot, those shelter ones are so much harder to work with. One almost always has to get a specialty trainer.”
“I bet, but anyway, she strapped that collar on her and turned it on. The noise stopped right away.”
“Incredible, but did it hurt the human?”
“She said no, but you know Aspen. It doesn’t make a peep anymore. I’m sure her neighbors are grateful.”
“My kids do like when it makes noises, at least when they are nice noises. We haven’t had a problem with noise just running away. We have to keep it tied up all the time.”
“Have you thought of one of those perimeter fences, the electric ones?”
“Now, that might work. I wonder where I can find one of those. More tea?”
“No, I’m good. I should be getting along soon. My kids will think I’ve abandoned them.”
“I’m sure they will. Thank you for the advice. I will look into those fences.”
“Good, I think there was a coupon on one in the paper. It seems humans are becoming very popular, maybe because of the planet dying, and we won’t be able to get them soon.”
“Maybe. So good to see you. Let’s do this again soon.”
“Yes, absolutely.”
Watching her leave by the side gate she turned and found the end of the lead empty. Those darn humans never learned.

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