A blindingly obvious choice for anyone that has 1. raised a child, 2. taught kindergarten, or 3. seen how fast a hare actually moves. Do I commit to tend a slow reptile that drinks/eats every other day, makes a sloth look hasty, and needs cleanup every three days? Or do I take the (admittedly geriatric) highly strung bunny, that needs daily feeding and watering, clean bedding, cuddling, treats like fresh carrots and rutabagas, and probably a big pink bow as well?
We have the tortoise. A shock to all, I realize. Some members of the family were expecting a small, hand sized creature, harking back to pet turtles of yore that never quite managed survival and attainment of greater girth. We tend what can be termed a largish dinner plate with chubby, clawed legs. Weight watchers may not be out of the question, for the blasted thing might weigh twenty five pounds.
Such an alarming pet, for such a slow and gentle beast. We must wash our hands after every contact, even the most casual. Salmonella is a bit catching, says our local tortoise whisperer. Now conversations around the house are likely to be punctuated with “and wash your hands! With soap! For more than seven seconds!!” Mealtimes are even less pleasant, more like interrogations. “Did you wash your hands?! Let me see! If you’re not telling the truth, you could get very, very sick” and etc.
[Change of topic, because I feel constrained to mention: I planted my containers last weekend, and risk the wrath of Nature/Murphy’s Law/certain Alaskan garden experts by planting out early. We shall see who has the last laugh. For all the pesos I spent on annuals this year, I sure hope it’s me. Back to compelling tortoise narrative.]
A dog wandered into the front yard on Saturday, and it was as if the Russian army had been discovered swarming the coast (I can see Russia from my place, you know….). The five alarm klaxon went off. Adults were hollered at to protect the tortoise, who, blithely ignorant of his impending doom, was roaming the yard at the speed of molasses. Fortunately, the aged, drooling Labrador was driven off and “Tort” was spared.
Our “rent-a-pet”, for lack of a better word, is summering with us. For his day job during the school year, he spends time amongst children aged 3-5 years old, gadding about the preschool room, avoiding craft projects involving paint or hole punches. I came to a realization last week, at approximately the same time I was loading Tort’s coffee table-sized habitat into the truck. I am one of those sucker parents, that takes the class pet because no one else volunteers for it. I felt sorry for a tortoise. At least the class pet wasn’t a wolverine, a rhinoceros, or a blue whale. I suppose I’ll be president of the PTA next….
Any strange pets? Been subjected to a guilt trip?