Chris Griffith: Animal head trophies are the new black

CHRIS GRIFFITH

There are times when we discover things along the long road to house hunting. Being inside someone else’s home and in their personal space is a strange place to be sometimes.

Imagine right now what it would be like to have people tour your home. For a fair amount of people the words “over my dead body” would be followed by a cleaning session before that would be a remote possibility. For others, it just never fazes them and they’d let anyone just walk in.

Everyone has a different idea of what clean is, about what cluttered is and about what is appropriate to share with potential buyers who tour their home.

There are probably volumes that have been written on homes that are dirty, trashed, flea ridden and the like but you don’t read much about dead animals.

Milestones are celebrated many ways and trophies come in many shapes and sizes. Sometimes those trophies are an animal’s head.

Having grown up in an outdoorsy family we had animal heads on our walls so I get the gist of it. I guess if you pack up and camp for two weeks in Alaska or Wyoming and come out with a bear, a moose or a caribou, sometimes their head ends up mounted on the wall.

It’s a way of life in some parts of our country. People actually feed their families by hunting wild game. In some parts of America, it’s probably a city ordinance to have some sort of horns on a wall. At least I think it is in Wakeman, Ohio, anyway.

Well, imagine the surprise a stuffed dog or cat brings to an unsuspecting person, shopping for a home on some random Tuesday afternoon.

I have now seen it at least a half dozen times. The last time I enjoyed the experience, the showing instructions were: “Be very careful! Don’t let the cat out.”

Lo and behold, we walk in and I hear Mrs. Buyer say, “There’s Kitty Girl.” Kitty Girl is curled up, sleeping on a pillow on the sofa, minding her own beeswax when the buyer tries to pick her up. Kitty Girl is dead; stiff as a board and packed with straw.

Needless to say, we left post haste and that house was nicknamed “the dead cat house” in all of our discussions from that point forward.

The listing agent called to see how the showing went and I had to explain to her that my buyers were in therapy over the cat situation and that they’re probably going to buy a regular house where the dead pets are buried out back, not stuffed and mounted as sofas accessories.

To date, I’ve never worked up the nerve to ask if a taxidermy cat was a trophy. I assume it’s a beloved pet or at worst, a disturbing souvenir from a flea market abroad. Any way you stuff it, it’s a tad macabre.

Those “dead cat houses” help me realize one thing; I now know that I love my dog more than ever. When my little brown dog goes to the big prairie in the sky, I know that I love him enough to bury him out back somewhere between the guinea pig and hamster, right where he belongs.

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Chris Griffith is a real estate agent at Downing-Frye Realty Inc. in Bonita Springs. If you have a question about local real estate or Bonita Springs, e-mail her at chris@LifeInBonitaSprings.com.

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