“We need a pet,” Bre announced after helping walk the neighbor’s dog. I pretended not to hear her and kept busily washing the dishes. “Hello? Mom! Did you hear me? We need a pet! I’m old enough to take care of one now!” This coming from the child that still believes that dirty dishes magically grow feet and walk themselves to the sink. Carmen starts to chime in on the pet band wagon and the only thing I can come up with is: “We’ll see.” The standard mom’s answer for ”NO, but I’m not telling you that right now because I am too tired to deal with the constant pleas and the imminent hissy fit.”
You see, I am not a pet person. I learned the hard way that pet ownership requires two things: commitment and responsibility, neither of which I am too keen on. Truth be told, my daughters are lucky that I’ve kept them around as long as I have.
Miniature guinea pigs were our first attempt at a family pet. If you are saying to yourself “There are no such things as miniature guinea pigs,” you are correct. I just didn’t have the good sense to know it at the time. I spent $200 on guinea pig items (good thing the guinea pigs were free) only to discover that these nasty little creatures were jumping though the cage bars and running around the car which didn’t make for a fun trip driving back home. I was afraid I was going to crush one with the gas pedal! I whipped the car around, threw those little rodents in my purse and haughtily lugged my defective equipment back into the store only to discover that I really had two hamsters. Two weeks later the hamsters were donated to the Preschool class because the girls said they were too wild to play with.
You would have thought I had the good sense to stop there, but no, I’m a softie. We actually bought a real guinea pig, but the girls got bored with him after a month. We had a couple of dogs but they were to stupid to stay at home, and I got tired of driving all over town to retrieve them. Then there was the fish. I didn’t want to commit to a tank, so we tried a small bowl that required endless cleaning. One day while changing the water, I sat the fish on the back deck because his current home reeked. And uh, I kinda forgot about it. Did I mention that it was snowing? Three days later I found the fish frozen in a solid block of dirty water. We even tried a hermit crab. No trouble at all really until one day there was nothing left in tank but an empty shell. Did you know that hermit crabs can’t have Dasani water without first using a special drop? Last, but not least, there was The Cat.
Trust me when I say that this cat and Lucifer were on a first-name basis. It would climb my curtains, jump on my head, and literally attack me as I walked down the hall. I thought cats were supposed to be docile animals, so I started asking other cat owners questions, trying to figure out exactly what it is that the animal kingdom had against me. I made sure the cat had the best food, cushiony bed, lots of toys, and cat nip. Did you know that cat nip has the same effect on cats that LSD has on humans? In other words, my cat wasn’t wild, it was under the influence! The cat wasn’t really attacking me personally; it probably thought I was some giant mouse!
After all was said and done, the cat lasted longer than any of the other animals…a whole two months…but it too had to find a new home. Maybe those dogs that kept running away were smarter than I thought!