I've had one opinion in regard to animals all my life: One pet and no more, and keep it outside. However, I'm married so I can't practice what I preach. It seems any fur-bearing creature down on its luck winds up being brought home by my wife. I can't complain, as that's how she wound up with me.

Here's a typical day for me: Home from work and there's Marley waiting to greet me. When our dog disappeared, my wife checked to see if the Humane Society had found him. They hadn't but she wound up bringing home big old Marley. Marley has a problem -- she's a compulsive licker. Her tongue is flicking in and out constantly (the dog, not my wife). It's close to impossible to get out of the car without getting a face full of dog tongue. She's big and black and that's about all I can say. Her eyesight is fading, and she now has to be right up against me and often steps on my feet. I go inside and change clothes.

I come back outside and get jumped on by Stanley. My daughter gets credit for that one. She hauled him home from the Blooming Prairie City Wide Garage Sale. His father was a black something and his mother was a St. Bernard. Yup, a big one. He likes to catch and eat squirrels. He eats the whole thing! Yup, tail and all.

I fend off Stanley only to find two meowing barn cats who will follow me until they get fed.

The next stop is to go to my playhouse (a granary remodeled into a man cave). I keep my gloves in there. I'm greeting by my Ginger. Yeah, I have my own cat. Bet you can guess how I got her. My wife found her  in the dumpster at her workplace years ago and, of course, had to rescue her. For some reason the scrawny thing followed me around and right into my playhouse, which she claimed as her own. I made an exception for her when I saw all the mice, birds and bats she caught. She's a cat who earns her keep. She whines and claws at the woodwork until I finally feed her.

Off to the barn to feed the horses and rabbit. I don't even want to talk about them. Hay burners! I regret I didn't try harder to show my daughter the joy in raising chickens. It would have been cheaper, and at least we would have gotten some eggs out of the deal.

Back to the house and of course more animals: four tomcats. There's Rufus, he's the whiner. He's also old and nutty. He spends the day laying in the wet shower. I told you he was nutty. When you open the refrigerator, he's right there whining. You see, my mother-in-law made the error of giving him some Reddi-Whip. He stands there and whines until he gets some.

Next is Garfield the Nuzzler. I bet you can guess who brought him home! The elderly mother of Julie's co-worker moved to an apartment, and my wife thought Garfield would be a good companion for her mother. Here's a rule to remember: Ask before giving a pet as a gift. My mother-in-law didn't want him. So, here he lives with us. He's not content to be petted, he needs to nuzzle his nose right up under your chin.

Meet Willie the Talker. He's also the Bible Camp kitty. My daughter's friend found this stray at Bible Camp and brought him home. Her parents said no. So she convinced my daughter to take him. He talks back to you.

Finally we have Buggy. He's the one pictured. He has quite the story. A number of years ago, I drove 140 miles to help my mother move into an apartment. Along the way I stopped at a rummage sale and noticed two gray cats being offered for free. Later in the day my wife and daughter drove up. I come home and later they pull in. They had stopped at the same sale and I bet you know what they brought home!  What are the odds we would stop at the same sale? The man running the rummage sale said that someone had placed five kittens in a paper sack and thrown it out the window onto the highway in front of their home. Three kittens died, one lost its eyesight and the fifth was Bugs. He survived. His struggles weren't over. Shortly after we took him in he contracted distemper. Living through distemper isn't likely, but Buggy made it though. A warm bed and my wife gave him something with electrolytes in it. The vets were quite surprised to find our cat with distemper had survived. He's still going strong and unfortunately he has selected me as his sleep mate. This necessitates that I sleep with my hands under the covers or else he is constantly after my hands, trying to rub against them.

I could continue on with more stories about these silly creatures like the dogs in chorus every first Wednesday of the month at 1 p.m. when the fire whistle is tested. The time my wife and I in our underwear climbed a tree at 4 a.m. to get a cat down, and on and on. I think I really do live on a Funny Farm.