Image Prompt 019 Response – The Petting Zoo that Doesn’t Allow Petting


I selected the image of the hairy cow for my 20 minute spring this time around.  I tried something a little different as well.  I don’t write young children characters much, so I tried my hand at it.  I hope you enjoy.

The Petting Zoo that Doesn’t Allow Petting

It was a cow.  More specifically a hairy cow.

It didn’t make up for the fact that Kylie didn’t want to be there.

It was supposed to be a petting zoo, and it was supposed to make her little six-year-old cousin Angela bearable because she loved animals.

There was no petting of the animals.  Most especially the hairy cow with the giant horns.  Even if the sign hadn’t expressly forbidden petting, feeding, or in other ways putting your hands across the gate, the cow was lying down feet away where no one could possibly reach it if they wanted to.

Kylie secretly envied the ridiculous ginger hairy cow.

Angela was inconsolable, angry, and trying desperately to get her hand out of Kylie’s grip.

Thankfully Kylie had years of experience with her younger siblings and other younger cousins.  She knew how to keep Angela beside her with one hand in Kylie’s even when every fiber of Angela’s being wanted to be somewhere else.

“Why don’t we try the dog park instead?” Kylie offered.  “There are always plenty of owners willing to let you play with their dogs, and it looks like you can’t touch the animals here.”

“No!” Angela shrieked.

Kylie was a little surprised that the hairy cow didn’t even move in response to the high pitched cry.

“I want to pet the cow,” Angela whined.

“Well, the sign says we can’t pet the cow,” Kylie said, starting to walk toward the exit despite Angela’s attempts to dig in her heels.  Quite literally.  She was leaving little furrows in their wake.

“You said we were going to a petting zoo,” Angela whined.

“This used to be a petting zoo,” Kylie said.  “They changed the rules since I was here last.  So now we can only look at the animals.”

“But you promised,” Angela said, with slightly less whine in her tone.

“Saying I’m taking you somewhere isn’t a promise,” Kylie corrected her cousin.  “If you still want to pet animals we can go to the dog park.”

“But then it’s just dogs,” Angela pouted.

“We can go to the dog park to pet dogs or we can go home where there are no animals at all,” Kylie replied.  She wasn’t arguing with a six-year-old.  Logic didn’t work on six-year-olds.

“Okay,” Angela said.  With the admission she finally stopped dragging her feet and walked beside Kylie instead of pulling from behind.

Kylie would take that small victory.  It was likely to be a horrible drive to the dog park anyway.  They’d ridden almost an hour to get to the petting zoo that no longer allowed petting.  Kylie knew Angela would just be upset and out of sorts again by the time they drove an hour back to town to the dog park she knew.  Her friends went there and she knew a lot of the other owners from when she was dog-sitting for someone.

Thankfully, when they reached the car Angela climbed in with no fuss and let Kylie fasten her into the booster seat with little complaint.

Kylie got in, turned on Radio Disney in the hopes of keeping Angela reasonably entertained and headed out.  This was the last time she ever agreed to watch her cousin for a whole weekend.  She’d never had trouble with the other ones, but Angela was an only child and Kylie’s youngest cousin was a very indulgent mother, so Angela was spoiled rotten.

By the time they reached the dog park, Kylie was ready to throw the radio out the window.  If she head that silly song about sharing from whatever Disney kids show it was, she might just kill someone.  It played nine times in the one hour and ten minutes they were in the car.

Kyle cut off the radio before turning off the car.  She didn’t want that song coming on without warning when she got back in.  At least Angela had seemed content to sing along with the radio on the trip, making it much more bearable.

Angela tried to run away as soon as she was out of the car though, and Kylie had to chase her down before she could close and lock the doors.

“You have to stay close until we’re inside the park,” Kylie admonished.

“But I want to play with the puppies,” Angela protested, bouncing and pulling on Kylie who obviously wasn’t walking fast enough.

“You can play with the puppies once we’re inside, but you have to ask their owner nicely first,” Kylie warned.

Angela didn’t bother answering.

Kylie sighed and opened the gate, making sure it latched properly behind them.  The dog park was a pretty good sized place, but it was mostly open field with a few trees here and there, so owners could let their dogs run around without a leash and not worry about losing them.

“Puppy!” Angela cried happily.

Kylie let herself be dragged over to where a golden retriever was romping a few feet away.

“Ask nicely,” Kylie reminded Angela, pulling her up short before she could reach for the dog.

Angela actually looked around, trying to find the dog’s owner.

“Hello ladies,” a familiar voice said from their left.

“Matt,” Kylie said with a smile.  She hadn’t seen him in ages.  They’d gone to grad school together and Kylie hadn’t known he was back in town.

“Hey, Kylie,” Matt said with a big smile.  “And who is this lovely lady?” he asked, crouching down so he was closer to eye level with Angela.

“I’m Angela,” she said brightly.  “Can I play with your puppy?”

“It’s nice to meet you, Angela.  I’m Matt,” he said.  “I bet my puppy would love to play with you.  Her name’s Sadie.”

“Be nice and stay in sight,” Kylie said as she let go of Angela’s hand.  “She’s my cousin’s daughter,” she told Matt.

“She looked too old to be yours,” Matt said.  “I think I’d have remembered you having a kid.”

Kylie laughed.  “She’s six.”  They’d graduated four years ago, so Matt would definitely have noticed if Angela had been Kylie’s own daughter.

“How have you been?” Matt asked as they watched Angela playing with Sadie.


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