Animal House

Posted: May 4, 2011 in Life, Pets
Tags: , , , , ,

I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that at some point in all of your lives, you’ve had a pet–you may even have one now. If you didn’t have a pet growing up, I hate to say it–but it’s probably because your parents didn’t love you. My apologies. For those of you who know the joys of pets–you know that sometimes the word ‘joys’ needs to be put in air quotes. Either way you slice it though, pets are funny…most of the time.

While I was growing up, our house was basically a pet store–except you couldn’t buy our pets. We had a pretty good selection though. I think the only reason we didn’t have farm animals was because we lived in the city limits and our town may have frowned upon that–then again the stray cat to people ratio is one to three…so maybe it would have been okay?

The first animal that made any sort of an impact on me was an eel I’d “affectionately” named Dirtball. I was around 5, living with my mom and aunt and uncle. I don’t know whose idea it was to put an eel in the fish tank but I wouldn’t even go into the living room because of that thing. He got taken care of though, and if I told you how I’d have to kill you.

Then came Petey. Petey was a miniature sheltie/sheepdog mix. So basically, he was a miniature Lassie who ran in circles. He never saved anyone from a well, but he did have the ability to wrap his chain around a tree faster than any dog I’ve ever seen. He was a good dog though–just a little creepy since even while running in circles his head did this Exorcist-esque thing so that his eyes never seemed to leave yours.

We had a couple pets at the same time as Petey–countless numbers of gerbils and hamsters. I don’t remember their names though, so apparently I was really close to them. I DO remember Hermie and Lenny (Jr. AND Sr.) though.

Hermie was a hermit crab (I wasn’t always as creative as I am now). In hindsight, lamest pet EVER. There is nothing cool about crabs–and I mean that exactly the way it sounds.

Lenny Sr. was a green anole lizard, and was just a tiny little thing. Sometimes these guys are jumpers–not Lenny Sr. He’d just hang out on your shoulder, maybe climb up in your hair (if an animal did this now I’d freak out). But Lenny Sr. disappeared. I’m pretty sure Hermie didn’t eat him, and at the time I was convinced my mom had set him free–but I think maybe there was a TINY chance I left the lid off his home. Enter Lenny Jr. This lizard was a dick–nothing like his dad. He was a jumper, like some kamikaze lizard pilot. The novelty wore off real quick and I’m pretty sure mom did set him free. It was summer in Iowa, so it was okay–he’s probably the leader of a whole bunch of kamikaze pilot lizards down south by now.

There was Willy who was our sweet little orange cat when we lived out on the farm. He had the bushiest tail I’d ever seen, and I remember our laundry room looking like a crime scene when he ripped out his stitches from being declawed. Willy ran away though–apparently he was more pissed off about the declawing than we thought.

After we left the farm and had accepted the fact that this wasn’t going to turn out like the movie Homeward Bound–we replaced Willy with a gray and white cat named Babs. This cat HATED people, even more so than regular cats. We wouldn’t see her for days, she’d just hide out in the house, completely ignoring us. I’m almost positive mom let her outside and “forgot” to let her back in.

So we were done with pets for awhile–especially cats. Then the start of my senior year of high school my parents got Bosco–a lab/boxer mix, also known as a dog/horse mix. He’s huge but doesn’t realize it, and sounds mean but isn’t. He’s still alive and kicking–grandpa will be 84 this year!

I’ve had two pets since I’ve been on my own–both cats. Apparently cats hate my family members, not me. The first one was Ruby–a fluffy gray and white cat who was quite possibly the sweetest creature ever–problem was she was also the sickliest. After countless visits to the vet school, tests for feline leukemia and FIV (yes…that’s cat HIV), and the loss of some of her teeth–the diagnosis was that I had a chronically ill cat on my hands. Well shit. I was in college–chronically ill translated into money–which I didn’t have. So I bawled and took Ruby back to the Humane Society.

Flash forward to five years later and enter Wrigley. He’s named after Wrigley Field, not the gum, and will also go by Wriggles, Wrigster, Wrigs, Twinkletoes, Chunkmonster, and Wrig James (think, “I’m Rick James bitch!”). I swear to God he’s been trained not to jump on people’s laps until they look at him and nod. He’d make a great bulimic if he could purge himself–but since he can’t he gets us yelled at when we go to the vet. He sheds a lot and sometimes headbutts me at 4am–but at the end of the day he’s mine and he’s a cuddly, little furball.

Some of you aren’t animal people and that’s okay, but those of you that are get it. Pets make their mark on our lives–and sometimes on our carpet. They become a part of the family–sometimes we like them better than the rest of the family. I can promise you this–they’ll always invoke SOME sort of emotion in you.

So if you have a pet go hug them, if you want a pet I challenge you to walk into your local shelter and leave without making arrangements to come back and pick up your new pet, and if you don’t have a pet and don’t want one–well…ummm…have a nice day?

  1. Mom says:

    That’s my girl!!! You’re AWESOME!!!

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