There’s something special about the way men fall in love with animals. Particularly big, broad-shouldered men.
I’ve seen it before: my dad, despite being openly disappointed in his children’s decision in the late ’80s to choose a small black poodle at the RSPCA over more masculine dogs, came to love Paddy dearly. In fact, Paddy’s untimely death a few years later was one of the few times I’ve ever seen my dad cry, and was certainly the first time I’d ever heard him say he’d miss someone.
He also has a very fond relationship with my parents only remaining cat, a female Burmese called Tom. Tom is small, but very heavy because she is all muscle from years of turning her nose up at Whiskers and hunting for live rabbit. Dad loves Tom, Tom loves Dad. Dad respects her independence and they have a similar pain threshold. My dad has returned from work dragging many a broken bone before and so when Tom returned from a hunting trip with a very limp tale, Dad did what he would want someone to do for him: grabbed her, put her tail back in place and let her get on with things. Her tail now stands tall and proud.
B is a board-shouldered man and he has fallen very hard in love with Delilah.
I have lost count of the number of times he has cooed sweet sentiments and I’ve blushed and said, ‘Babe! That’s so sweet of yo- …wait. Are you talking to me or the dog? Oh.’.
In the mornings I get up to the site of him wearing Delilah around his neck like a stole. He trims her claws and defends her from The Wuz and hasn’t exactly said I’m not allowed buy her clip-on bows to wear in her hair. When we go out for brunch, he orders her chicken from the kitchen and organises puppy play dates with other cuties (and their equally cute puppies).
A few nights ago The Wuz and I sat on the couch and watched disdainfully as B and Delilah wrestled on the floor. We don’t need their love.
This weekend will be the real test of Delilah’s cute though: she’s meeting Dad for the first time, a vocal critic of a) corgis and b) his children owning any kind of pet. History would suggest though, that she’ll melt his heart.