An outsider would have thought that John's taking over the practice from the doddering, hide-bound old geezer he replaced would have made him happy. That outsider would have been quite wrong. Being the boss, you see, meant being put on the spot when things went wrong. It also meant having to be in charge of a group of young working girls. The thing that one must understand about John is that he was very similar to his wife. Just as she complained about male domination while being quite unable to survive without John's support, he railed about how working women were destroying society while being unable to function without the women he patronized and demeaned.
What's more, there was going to be another mouth to feed soon enough. That meant that they'd have to leave their cozy little place and move closer to where he worked. That odd, weird, shrill woman that Elly liked to talk to, a 'Connie' if he remembered correctly, mentioned that there was a house on the market in a sleepy little suburb a twenty-minute drive from his building. It seemed that the owner put it on the market because the missus died or something. Ah, well. At least the price was reasonable. And at least the child wasn't another boy.
Oh, John loved being around Lizzie despite being tricked into watching her being born. She was a real gem to be around when she changed from generic wailing lump toddler to a real little girl. (It should be noted that the average human being would use the definition 'submissive, timid little creature that thinks of herself as a pretty face first, last and always.' for John's phrase.)
It should also be noticed that his own toxic relationship with his siblings (encouraged by an indulgent mother who, as was previously mentioned, got a sick thrill out of his more loutish and self-serving shenanigans) blinded him to the fact that Michael and Lizzie shouldn't actually have been as close to killing one another as they were. Nor was he overly concerned with Michael's tendency to verbally abuse people who weren't him. This again was owing to having his mother rush to his defense every time Will grounded him and lectured him about how other people have feelings too. All the boy needed, you see, was to be acquainted with good, honest work and his less pleasant traits would vanish. He took himself as an example of this belief and thought that since he'd turned out amazing, taking the boy to the farm to be put to work would set him straight.
He was encouraged in this belief by his brother-in-law, a Danny Cruikshank. Where other people saw a barely-competent ignoramus with a tendency to pontificate, John saw a secular saint no matter what his father (who referred to Danny as "the bearded nitwit who didn't know the first thing about raising chickens") or Bill (who called him "the human roadapple") might say about the man. Funny. You'd have thought that growing up on a farm himself would have made Will sympathize with his son-in-law. Instead, the old man's rare visits to Bev's place (odd, you'd think that he'd show up more often since he and mom lived an hour or so away) always ended with a lecture about Danny's being a cartoon hayseed.
And, hey, it wasn't like John was inflexible or anything. I mean, he didn't mind too much when Elly finally started kicking in a little on the mortgage. Granted, that didn't mean he wasn't also thrilled to be a father at the age of forty-two. Sure, it was going to be mildly unpleasant to not get to go all the places Elly dreamed of but, hey, how much shopping can one woman do, right?
He just wished he knew why Lizzie was so out of sorts of late. Elly hinted broadly about some business about feeling left behind while her friends were going places in life but he really didn't listen too well. I mean, kids just got emotional about little or nothing; that was life, right?
So was losing a pet. Sure, Farley's death might theoretically been prevented but life is what it is.