My only sibling is “no average Joe.” His name is Phil, and he isn’t even your average Phil. Rather, my brother is a character, but if you know me at all, you would assume that any brother of mine would be a character.

Phil has always had a love of animals except for my stuffed dog Jiggsy, which he blew up (I believe intentionally) with his first and last chemistry set.

From as far back as I can remember, Phil loved almost all animals. He convinced our Father against his better judgment to allow him to have several ducks in our garage. Dad, a man of the 1950’s, actually gave up his garage so my brother could house a bunch of quack quacks. That is what we call love.

It wasn’t long before the garage started to produce a foul odor, and when that smell permeated the house, the ducks were history to the delight of our Mother.

Phil loved to buy tropical fish, and over a short time they almost all died. I wish I had a dollar for every fish which we flushed down the toiled. 

Phil loved animals so much we all believed he was destined to own a pet store, but he fooled us by becoming a journalist and then a therapist.

With this preamble now finished, let us go way back to a summer in the early 70’s. Phil was married with two young daughters, my nieces Joana and Dahlia.  He rented a small house on a small lake in Massachusetts, and Phil felt that it was necessary for the welfare of his entire family that they have a pet for the summer.

He did some research and found he could rent a goat for a small sum, and that is exactly what he did. Phil always believed all animals should have names, and so he named the goat “Mr. Peepers.” Like most goats, Mr. Peepers ate everything in sight. Phil did not have to mow the lawn one single time all that summer. 

And then (there is always that “and then” when things seem to be going well) something quite unexpected happened. Phil and the girls went on an outing and one of the windows to the house remained open. 

A curious four legged creature, Mr. Peepers made himself at home. Apparently he was tired of just eating grass, and so he hopped inside and helped himself to a feast. Nobody can be certain whether Mr. Peepers preferred the couch or the stuffed chair, but needless to say, he thoroughly enjoyed the furniture.

So, if you are in the goat renting business, please do not rent a goat to my brother, and if you are in the home renting business, you also might want to think before renting your home to Phil.

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