I am not an "animal" person. Oh, I like animals well enough, just not enough to have any of my own. They're work and I am lazy. There it is.
But Luke. Luke loves animals. All kinds. He doesn't care one whit if a dog loping by is not known to us - he wants to love the dog and will boldly march up to any owner and announce his wish: "I want to pet your dog, ok?" Big. Small. Mangy. Drooling. None of it matters to Luke, so long as he can hug the animal.
Ditto cats, including the feral one that appeared on our doorstep one morning last week. Luke was out the front door in a flash, toying with the cat's dirty, matted fur before I could even lunge across the room. And I'll be damned if that cat didn't roll over and purr.
Birds. Worms. Dragonflies. Ducks. Canadian Geese. So far, nothing is safe from Luke's special kind of loving embrace. Think, "I want to hug him and love him and call him George"...
And now? Horses. Lord help me, my beloved son, my very soul, is smitten with horses.
It runs in the family you see, although I was not-so-secretly hoping that the "love horses" gene would pass the Reds by, given their mother's indifference. Alas. Couldn't be my niece and nephew - the ones who visit the horses daily with their mother. Oh, nooo. B. and K. have a healthy respect for the animals and are comfortable around them, but they are not, so far, drawn to them. Nope. LUKE is. Figures.
My mother-in-law, herself utterly animal-crazy, is delighted at this newest development and has done very little to disguise her glee - and so I blame her, because really, this animal-obsession business is all her fault! SHE was the one visited a psychic years ago, who foresaw a curly-headed blond grandchild standing beneath a horse's belly, safe, comfortable and happy.
We assumed, naturally, that my sister-in-law would be parenting this not-yet-born little character, since she's the horse person. We assumed, quite understandably, that MY children would be content to read about horses instead. Much less mess that way.
But no. Luke, whose auburn locks have morphed to blond and curl gently at his ears, is happiest when getting dirty. In the barn or simply in the paddock he is fearless - in his element and happier than I've ever seen him: