Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Adventure {And Tragedy} of Having Pets

I have been trying really hard to remember the most memorable moments at age seven and have remembered me and my brother's first experiences with pets.

For Christmas (a few months before I turned seven) Santa brought us a handful of the cutest baby turtles. We woke up to find a small open lid tank with teeny tiny sweet little baby turtles. We had previously seen them at a pet store and I'm sure had asked and asked and asked our parents if we could please have some. So we did get them. They were so cute. We fed them and made sure they had enough water and that there were safe. We named them Benji, Stinky, Clint and hmmm I can't remember the last one's name. Anyways, Benji and the no-name one were my brother's and Stinky and Clint were mine.

However, one day something tragic happened. One morning when we went to check on them we noticed that Clint was gone. He must have somehow managed to climb out of the tank. We searched and searched and searched without luck. I was so devastated. A few months later we moved out of that house and my parents found Clint in one of the closets. They tried to keep us from seeing him, but you know how kids are and want to see and know everything. Anyways. I still have that image of dried up little Clint burned in my memory.

I'm happy to report that Benji and Stinky survived and moved along with us to our next home.

The other memory I have from age 7 is that we also got Zebra finches as pets. My parents got a medium sized bird cage and got a male and female pair. They were so cute!

Soon though, we noticed they were nesting and the female laid eggs! We were thrilled!!! The chicks hatched one day, but do you know what happened?

The mean father killed them.

We were again devastated. Gosh we sure had bad luck with pets!

My Dad said it was because the cage was too small. So do you know what he did?

He built a huge, and I mean huge cage. It went from the floor to ceiling, one side of the living room to the other. It was amazing. He set it up with indoor trees and plants and a couple of bird houses so they could build proper nests. And the birds did. They laid eggs again, and once again had a few chicks. And these little chicks actually grew and grew. But only one of them survived into adolescence. I think there was 3, one of them died early on. The other one died after an injury when she was trying to learn how to fly. And the last of them was the survivor, she was bright and cheerful and would sing a lot. We named her Carmen {and she had a very happy to tragic life story, I tell you we were not very good with pets! At our next house she wanted to fly around and hated being in the smaller cage, however, we didn't have the space to let her free so we let her fly free in our backyard shed, which was pretty spacious. One day when we went to visit her and give her her food and water she didn't come, We could her her calling to us but we didn't know where she was. We thought she was hiding, but the poor thing was actually stuck in some boxes. I think my Dad tried to find her, but he never did and she of course died. When we later on gave those boxes to a friend he said they had found her little body in there. I still feel SO guilty about that. If only we had really tried to find her. OK, now the tears are running down my face and my heart aches for sweet, happy little Carmen. I hope wherever she is she forgives us}.

I guess these memories aren't actually all happy. But I do know we were happy because kids love animals and having pets, so while the innocence of childhood protected us from the harsh reality of a lot of what happened, I was a very sensitive child and I think I was slightly traumatized. I empathize way too much with any living thing. Even to this day I can't kill bugs {the other day I saw a centipede in my basement and I managed to grab it with a tissue and take it outside because I couldn't squish it!}.

I'm sure other stuff happened during age 7 but for now that's all I can muster.

 * Every Thursday for the following few weeks I will be writing about my story from Birth to High School. Please visit Mommy's Piggy Tales to read more stories and to find out how you can participate! *

1 comment:

  1. Good job! I would have squished the centipede though:)


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