Ever since I moved out on my own, I’ve had a strong desire to have a pet. My family always had pets growing up and they were a valued part of my childhood experience. Now that I’m married and have kids of my own, I find myself wanting them to share in those same magical memories. We, however, are in no position to have a pet right now. We can hardly afford to feed ourselves, much less an animal who would also need babysitting when we are away, as much attention as my kids get, and insurance just in case of an emergency. (Of course, those things don’t stop me from wanting.)
So, how do I keep myself grounded on the issue? I simply try to recall ALL my memories of raising fuzzy creatures, rather then only remembering the sweet, tender moments! Here are some memories that have made me shy away from the idea of bringing an animal into my home just yet:
1. The Great Houdini! – Houdini was my brother’s Russian dwarf hamster. He was a cute little thing but got his name from his annoying ability to escape ANYTHING! Unfortunately, his talent turned out to be both a blessing and a curse the day my mother decided she was sick of my brother’s messy room. As soon as my brother was off to school that day, she barged into his bedroom and started de-cluttering and de-stinking his personal space. Eventually she had things clean enough to whip out the vacuum. She was happily humming along, sucking up months worth of boy-dust, when she scooted past the dresser and gave it a bump with her hip to push it back against the wall. Long story short… a few months later we played musical rooms (as we often did), and when my brother pulled his dresser off the wall he discovered a very squished, very dried out hamster who still had a look of surprise on his face!
2. A Midnight Snack – Like the rest of my family, my older sister is a foodie. Even when we were young, she couldn’t resist a good old fashioned midnight snack. One night she crept into the kitchen to relish in the glorious pleasure of a forbidden food but didn’t realize she had been followed. One of our pet gerbils had escaped earlier and decided he too would try to sneak a scrumptious bite. The next morning as my mother was pouring us each a glass of orange juice, the little gerbil slipped out of the pitcher and splashed into a cup. He was, of course, dead. And in case you were wondering, none of us drank orange juice for months!
3. Homesick – We brought home a number of strange pets growing up and my parents were always good sports about it. They even let us keep some lizards we caught on a family trip to the desert one time! Unfortunately, one of the lizards got homesick for his hot, dry rock in the sun and crawled into our dryer for a cozy reminder of home. An hour later my mother pulled out a blanket that had a very crispy lizard cooked into its fibers. You really can have too much of a good thing!
Picture of Russian dwarf hamster came from http://www.flickr.com/photos/25373956@N06/4104865232/
Picture of Gerbil came from http://naycanythespaceinvader.blogspot.com
Picture of Orange Juice came from http://enwikipedia.org/wiki/Orange_juice
Picture of disgusted boy came from http://www.dvorak.org/blog/2009/12/18/easily-disgusted-youre-a-conservative