Animal Planet

You’ve heard of pet therapy, well as I sit here in traction I think it might be nice to have something fluffy to hold onto, perhaps a furry little kitten or a cuddly puppy. For me though I actually think that’s a dream or maybe a nightmare. When we moved out of my childhood home I found a dog collar in the garage, let’s just say, I don’t ever remember having a dog. The days of having a Rover around the house were part of an unspeakable pet past.

A friend once asked me to keep an eye on her cat while she was out-of-town, to stop in each day and put out some food. I asked her if I’d have to bathe the kitty and she responded with a sigh and then said, “you weren’t kidding when you said you knew NOTHING about pets!” Why would I lie about such a thing?

My pet stories are all tragic and true. I had a canary named Simon, after the 10th time my Mom had asked me to clean out his cage she placed him on the back porch and told me that’s where I’d find him until his home was clean. So hours later I stroll my 12-year-old self out there and pick up his cage to say hello and out he flies from the bottom of his living quarters that I suddenly realized was now missing its’ tray. As he flew to the woods behind our house I screamed and my Mom came running. She consoled me with the reassuring words that we lived close to an interstate and before I knew it he’d be far south and living in sunny Florida. (You gotta love the stuff that Mothers come up with on the fly) Although it was trickier for her to smooth over the next year when the wolf dog next door tried to make Simon II into the blue plate special, Simon the sequel headed to birdie heaven within 24 hours.

I had so many fish swim to aquatic heaven I lost count, even a stray cat we named Tigger gave up on us. But the story that lives forever in my SPCA hit list life is my little turtle. He was about ten days old, didn’t even have a name yet, we returned home and couldn’t find him in his terrarium. Wasn’t hard to immediately notice turtle was not in his glass home and nowhere to be found. When one of my brothers offered to help find him I desperately accepted. Within minutes the sound of the crunch shook the room…….yep, big bro accidentally squished turtle under his Chuck Taylors into a little pile of oozing turtle guts and simultaneously burned the desire for further pets forever from my heart.

My Mom quickly announced her term as pet grandmother was over. She was retiring the role and I believe still recovering from the dog incident from ten years earlier. Apparently an elderly neighbor had said our dog “snapped” at him and my brothers were told their doggie was going to a “beautiful farm to run free”…when my eldest brother figured it out sometime later he never let them forget Buck’s euthanasia.

It’s kind of like God sent our family a memo that said, “Look, but please don’t touch.” So as I sit here today I’m thinking about my first Simon who flew south, picturing his little yellow self flying in and out of his time share in Boca Rotan. Soaring high over an ocean filled with all my guppies and goldfish. Not being a “pet person” is one thing but to be a danger to them is an unsettling other matter. I think once you realize you aren’t good at pet care there’s no coming back. Don’t get me wrong I’m the first girl to appreciate nature, but it has to be from a safe distance for all involved. So instead of trying pet therapy I’ll just squeeze this fluffy pillow as my neck hangs in traction and know by doing so I’m actually saving a Spot or Sprinkles life.

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