The Mast-Head: Can’t Have a Pig

What I told the pig-wanting daughter, and her mother, who was somewhat sympathetic to her pleas

   Out of the blue, our older daughter announced last week that she wanted a pig — sorely. This was not an ordinary pig, mind you, but some sort of supposed mini-breed she learned about on the Internet, which could be hers for $850, shipping from Indiana, or wherever, extra. I said no, of course, which set off a fit of wailing unprecedented for its length, if not for volume.
    My rationale against adding to our household in this way is simple: I don’t want any more responsibilities. When it comes to animals, the fact that I get up at least an hour before everyone else in our house means that I end up taking care of the three dogs: a pug, a small, curly-haired mixed breed, and a rangy Lab mix. Next it’s outside to the chicken coop to check the eight birds’ water and feed, and to open the door to their run.
    For whatever reason, it’s my job to pick up the poop in the yard, trim the dogs’ nails and the shaggy one’s coat, put the anti-tick stuff on them once a month, and so on. I collect and wash the eggs the hens produce and shovel their bedding a couple of times a year into the compost heap, which I drag over to the garden. Though I’ve managed to turn the garden, it has yet to be planted, and I have no idea what I am going to do to keep the deer out of it this year.
    The foregoing more or less was what I told the pig-wanting daughter, and her mother, who was somewhat sympathetic to her pleas. Moreover, it always had been understood that the middle child was the next member of the family in line to get her own pet. I had to draw the line.
    But the pig talk continued unabated. “I’ll take care of the pig!” our daughter howled. “You won’t have to do anything.”
    “I’ve heard that before,” I said.
    “I’ll prove it to you,” she said.
    So a couple of times this week, I have not had to feed the dogs. Lulu, the shaggy mutt (or, in other words, a Cavachon — half cavalier King Charles spaniel, half bichon frisé), has been given a bath that I did not have to initiate. The keening pleas have diminished somewhat.
    The answer about the pig is still no. But I worry that some members of the household may be plotting to move me out into a sty.