Finally Got Them Bugging Out

| OR, USA | Right | April 3, 2017

(I am at my volunteer job in the local shelter when a woman and her daughter, who is maybe eight to nine years old, come in to check out our kittens. The daughter immediately comes up to me.)

Girl: “Do you have any monkeys?”

Me: “No, we just have cats and dogs, and I think we have a rabbit right now, too.”

Girl: “I love monkeys! I’m going to get one as a pet!”

(She continues to talk about how much she loves monkeys and wants to have one of her very own, while her mother adopts an “oh, no, here we go again” expression.)

Me: “Well, the thing is, it’s actually pretty difficult to keep a monkey as a pet.”

Girl: “It is?”

Me: “Yup. See, monkeys don’t like to be by themselves,; they get really unhappy if they’re left alone all day when you’re in school.”

Girl: “They do?”

Me: “Absolutely. Also, they can be hard to feed correctly. Do you know what monkeys eat?”

Girl: “I’d feed my monkey bananas!”

Me: “Well, some monkeys eat fruit, but they can’t eat only bananas. They need to eat a wide variety of fruits to stay healthy. And some monkeys don’t eat fruit, they eat bugs.”

Girl: “Really?”

Me: “Yup, they eat worms and flies and caterpillars…”

Girl: “Eeeew! I don’t want something that eats bugs! Maybe I shouldn’t get a monkey.”

Me: “Yeah, it’s a lot easier to keep a kitten. Would you like to hold one?”

(I showed her several of our kittens. As the two of them were leaving, her mother turned to me and whispered “thank you” with a very profound look of relief.)

Your Knowledge Has Run A’foal

| USA | Right | March 13, 2017

(I am volunteering at a horse rescue and on the day of the open house fundraiser. I am stationed in front of a few stables to talk about the individual horses and make sure guests aren’t behaving too aggressively with the animals.)

Me: “This is DJ. He’s 15 years old and was rescued from an abandoned farm when he was just a foal. He’s been livi—”

Guest #1: *interrupting* “What? He was a different animal when you found him?”

Me: “No, ma’am, a foal is a baby horse.”

Guest #1: “Do you think I’m stupid? I know a baby horse is a pony. A foal sure ain’t a pony.”

Me: “Well, actually, ponies are just a small breed of horse; the actual name of a baby horse is a foal.”

(The guest looks down at her daughter and tells her, very clearly, that I don’t know what I’m talking about.)

Child: “My mommy says you’re stupid.”

Me: “I’m very sorry she feels that way.” *addressing the crowd as a whole again* “Anyway, DJ was brought here as a foal—”

Guest #2: *interrupting* “Wait, didn’t we just determine that foals aren’t real?”

Me: “Again, foals are very real. Ponies are as well. Ponies are a breed of horse; foals are baby horses. A baby pony is a foal.”

Guest #1: “Gee, I don’t know what this place is paying you, but they should save their money for someone who actually knows what they’re talking about.”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m a volunteer.”

Guest #1: “Oh, so that’s why you don’t know. You’re just here for the cake.”

(Guest #1 and her daughter walk away, leaving me slightly dumbfounded. About 20 minutes later, my barn manager walks over to me.)

Manager: “I received a complaint you were spreading false information.”

Me: “Oh, yes, I was unaware that foals don’t exist and ponies are actually just baby horses.”

Manager: “There’s a reason you’re the volunteer and she’s not. You can take your break now. Go and get yourself a slice of cake.”

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Someone Needs To Be Neutered

| USA | Romantic | November 10, 2016

(I’m volunteering at an animal shelter which is having a big adoption event. I’m helping direct traffic. This guy is smiling through the whole conversation.)

Me: “Hi, if you don’t mind just parking over here in this lot, that would be great!”

Old Man: “What’s going on?”

Me: “We’re having a big adoption event today for dogs and cats!”

Old Man: “Are you on the adoption list?”

Me: *thinking he means to ask if I host foster animals* “Oh, no, I already have plenty!”

Old Man: “No. Think about what I said.”

Me: *realizes what he actually means* “Just go park over there…”

Old Man: “Think about it.”

Me: “Just go park.”

(Later I’m telling an actual employee about this:)

Employee: “Ew! I hope you spat on him!”

Inside-Out Cat

| Renton, WA, USA | Related | September 23, 2016

(I am a volunteer cat caretaker at a local animal shelter. Essentially I clean up, groom, and feed all rescued kitties and try to talk folk into adopting them. On this day a man and daughter are coo-ing over one of our recently arrived kittens that I’ve let out into the play area.)

Daughter: “Ooooh, daddy this one is so precious! And look, she loves me!” *the kitten is indeed licking her hand, purring, and rubbing its face against her* “Are you sure we can’t get another cat?”

Dad: “No, dear, not after what happened with the last one. I don’t want to have to replace the microwave again!”

(The daughter looked pouty and left with her father. I immediately put the kitten safely back in its cage and try not to shudder at the possible connotations of what was just said.)

Adopting A Bad Attitude

| USA | Working | September 19, 2016

(It is less than a month after one of my cats has died. My remaining cat, who is elderly and has never been without a companion a day in her life, falls into a deep depression from loneliness, so I start looking into adopting an older cat to keep her company. I find an older male that I like in a local shelter and fill out an application for him. Two weeks later I still haven’t heard back from them and after a phone call goes unanswered, I assume either my application was rejected or he was adopted by someone else. I look elsewhere and end up adopting an elderly pair that belonged to an owner who passed away. Three months afterwards I get a phone call from a volunteer at the shelter.)

Volunteer: “Hey, I’m looking at your application and I was wondering if you were still interested in the cat?”

Me: “Oh, sorry, it’s been months and I thought my application was rejected. I adopted two cats from another shelter already.”

Volunteer: “Can’t you still take him? He gets along with other cats really well.”

Me: “Sorry, sir, I already had a cat before adopting them. Three is my limit and I don’t have the means to care for a fourth.”

Volunteer: *suddenly angry* “So you just don’t care about the cat anymore, then?”

Me: “I’m sorry, what?”

Volunteer: “If you changed your mind and decided you didn’t want the cat, you should have called and told us. You’ve just wasted our time! We could have found him a home with someone else!”

Me: “I beg your pardon, but I applied for the cat months ago. I didn’t so much as get an email from you and no one even bothered to return the call I left. I feel bad for the cat, but I really can’t take him now. Maybe I would have if you actually contacted me in a timely manner.”

Volunteer: “Don’t bother trying to adopt from us again. I’m barring you from our shelter.” *hangs up*

(I was stunned, so I went onto the shelter’s website, found contact information, and emailed the owner directly. She later got back to me with an apology and promised that I could still adopt from them in the future if I so please. Apparently the reason it took months to get back to me was because the volunteer, who turned out to be her adult son, lost most of the applications, including mine, which ended up costing several cats potential homes. On the positive side, all three of my cats are inseparable friends.)

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