Sunday, March 2, 2008

Weekend Assignment #205: Those "Other" Pets

I'm feeling a little better, so let's get to Karen's weekend assignment.

Weekend Assignment #205: As of 2007 Americans owned over 72 million dogs, and over 81 million cats. They also owned horses, birds, fish, turtles, ferrets, lizards and other critters. (Real statistics can be found here.) My question is this: what pets have you had, other than a dog or cat? Is there some kind of pet (allergies and zoning ordinances permitting) that you'd like to have?

Growing up I was told we couldn't have a dog or cat because I was allergic to them. It made sense to me at the time. I had bad hay fever (still do) and other allergies, so I never questioned it. But, one year we went to my step-mom's brother's house and I spent the whole time playing with their dog and never sneezed. I didn't take my medicine the whole time. So, obviously my mom was not telling the truth, but I never said anything about it until I moved out.

Instead we had fish. Actually my brother had fish: I got to look at them and feed them. We had the typical fresh water fish; angelfish, tetras, etc. They weren't very exciting, but they are good for kids to learn to care for an animal.

One day my brother decided to upgrade. I think he was tired of his basic fish and wanted something different. He bought a piranha. To a teenage boy, there is no better fish. It swims around with its Bruce Springsteen under bite, knowing nobody is going to mess with it. My brother would always let my friend and I know when he was going to feed the piranha. We'd sit on the edge of his bed, watch him dump the goldfish in the tank, and cheer on the piranha every time it caught one. It was great! I'm not sure what happened to that fish.

My brother also had a ferret for a short time. He never told my mom about it. I think he bought it with a friend and they kept it for three days before bringing it back. I think one of them was scratched or bitten.

We finally did get a cat when my brother brought one home from vacation. He didn't tell anyone he was bringing it home. Notice a pattern?

Extra Credit: Are you more of a cat person, or more of a dog person, both or neither?

I'm more a dog person than a cat person. We ended up having two cats over a period of years when I was living at home, but dogs are more friendly. Cats can be very stand off-ish or just plain mean. Actually, next week my wife and I are going to pick out which dog we want from a litter. We are going to surprise the kids for Easter. Our golden retriever died last September, and they have been asking about a puppy since then.


Karen Funk Blocher said...

Yow, a piranha! I prefer the tetras. (even angelfish can be mean.)

It could be that your mom simply assumed that if you had allergies you would have pet dander allergies. Or not.

Florinda said...

Piranhas!? Yikes. They would definitely be more exciting than the usual fish, though.

That's exciting news about picking out a new puppy! I hope you find a great new addition to your family.

Laura said...

Perhaps I should have gotten an piranha and fed it all of the goldfish that my brother and I won at carnivals.

I'm sorry to hear about your golden retriever. They are one of my favorite breeds of dogs. Best of luck finding a new puppy, and I'm sure your kids will be happy!

Mike said...

Karen: You might be right. Maybe it was a little of that and not wanting to deal with a pet. I'm not sure.

Florinda: Most people have that reaction about piranhas. I wouldn't let my kids get them now. Funny how your views change as you become the parent.

Laura: We are getting a golden again. That's the only breed I've ever wanted.

Kiva said...

I always wanted a piranha, but then my mom told me I'd have to clean the aquarium. I decided I liked all of my fingers just as they were. You're much safer with a golden -- especially if you have kids. Happy puppy hunting. Post pix when you get it.