|Oh, great, I look like a
snausage to him!
An enormous puppy was looking down at her with large round eyes, and feebly stretching out one paw, trying to touch her. `Poor little thing!’ said Alice, in a coaxing tone, and she tried hard to whistle to it; but she was terribly frightened all the time at the thought that it might be hungry, in which case it would be very likely to eat her up in spite of all her coaxing.
-Alice in Wonderland
I have no use for pets. This wasn’t always the case. There was a time, as my mother loves to recall, that I begged and begged and for a dog or a cat. The family dog died when I was 16, and I so wanted something to take care of and pet and all that stuff. But no, just because they didn’t want to be stuck with an animal for 15 years or so when I got out of the house, I was denied.
Well, now my parents have their revenge. My youngest daughter really wants a puppy. I mean, really, it’s serious here. She mentions it constantly. My reasons were clear. I don’t wanna, This does not suffice for her.
She is very good at showing her pitifulness by tying my honor cord around the neck of a stuffed dog and dragging it along behind her. Oh, yes, Mommy, I would take care of it. Sure, she would. I know who would take care of it, and I don’t wanna. I used to want pets, because I wanted to be a mother (another one of those odd dreams!) and baby something. Well, I need no more babies since mine are well out of diapers. I am not scooping any more poop.
At least I thought I wasn’t. My husband – yes, my husband, not the kids – brought home a water turtle and a tank. They were free, he said. So hooray we had a pet. Sasha the turtle lived in the laundry room, where occasionally she would bump against the glass while I loaded laundry and make me jump out of my skin. I didn’t care for Sasha. I’m sad to say that I thought of ways to do Sasha in. I mean, I was very close to the bleach in the laundry room. Oops. But I didn’t. Lucky for me, she died on her own.
|“Hey, anyone know the number for PETA?”|
Unluckily for me, my husband then took the girls to a pet store, swearing that they were only going to look. Why do I continue to trust this guy? Anyway, they come home with another free turtle. But this time it’s not a water turtle, it’s a tortoise. A Sulcatta tortoise. In case you have never heard of these turtles, they’re from Africa, they live like 100 years, and, oh yeah, they grow to be FREAKING HUGE!!!! Like Alice’s puppy, the thing makes me a little nervous.
But hey, it was free! Well, except for vet visits, and food, and a place for it to live. We had this minor problem of having no fence. My husband had been meaning to build a fence for around three years or so. He got about half done, and stopped. So we had this huge turtle – luckily for us he is still a “baby” and only about the size of a small dog, if said dog were lower to the ground and had a shell and leathery skin – walking slowly around our house and wedging himself into corners where he would stay for so long you’d have to nudge him with your foot to make sure he was alive. You see, the reason he was free was that this was a “Special Needs” turtle. He’d injured his mouth and couldn’t eat.
So then we have this turtle in our house that only eats through a syringe, when my husband gets in the mood to even try feeding it, and who wanders around scaring the crap out of me and at times, nearly making me trip. At one point, he camped out near our computer, and I realized just how insane my life was. I followed it a lot, searching for any signs that he had left me “presents” in my house. Let me tell you, I have enough trouble with house cleaning without pets adding to the mess. But I didn’t see anything, so I wondered seriously how the thing was even surviving. There should be a warning sign on our house – my husband loves to collect animals, but the whole taking care of it part is sorta secondary. They usually don’t survive that long.
But so far, this one lives. On air, maybe? Is his metabolism so slow he only needs food every year or so? I’m not sure. We had very hot weather – a drought – for several months. Eventually, dear husband , thanks to a little elbow grease and a warning from Code Enforcement, put up our fence, and Mr. Turtle got to go to his natural environment, Africa. Everyone else hated the weather, but he seemed to like it. As much as turtles can express liking something, which isn’t much. Mr. Turtle did get a name. I named him Rio because I like Duran Duran. It makes no sense, but neither does the poor turtle.
But then it rained. Good for the land, bad for me. Rio is back inside, and still alive. My daughter wants a dog now. I told her we had a turtle. But a small part of me now wants a Doberman, ya know, as a pal to Rio. Not really. Rio has that tough shell, and can apparently survive everything, even my family. I admit I identify with him. He’s totally out of his element, he’s slow, he likes to nap, but he’s persistent.
Still, if he poops on my carpet, we are going to have a discussion, woman to turtle.