Growing up, my dad had often said that any time an animal entered our household, their IQ points dropped a little. Sometimes a lot.
Of course, this isn't as fair when you take into consideration that some animals we got were born with brains the size of a peanut cluster, if that.
Throughout the years, my family accumulated pets, mostly fish when I was younger - after an exceptionally poor first start with a goldfish that I got from kindergarten (either my imagination is great, or kindergarten was a lot cooler when I went!) The poor goldfish didn't last through the night. In retrospect, carrying a fish home in its little baggie of water in my backpack probably was not the stress-free life a fish craves. I'm sorry. I was in kindergarten.
After my dad educated us on the basics of fish care, all of us kids got our own goldfish. I'm happy to say my new goldfish lasted me for many years. Of course, as with all tiny pets, it eventually went belly up. I remember distinctly the day I looked into the tank to feed my fish and saw that it was kind of float-swimming, curled in nearly half. I don't think I stopped crying for at least a half hour.
My dad also kept a fish tank, and still does, with various tropical fish, but all I remember now are the tetras; they lived and keep living far beyond any other type of fish he had had.
Casey was our first puppy. I think I mentioned that a brief debate early in her life almost left her with the name "Tree." And if I didn't mention it before, I'm sure I'll mention it again. My youngest brother really wanted to call her tree, in part, I suspect, because she was brown.
We went on to have two more dogs, as you might recall.
Birds also became part of our household. The very first bird was a sparrow that had fallen out of its nest, which we later found out to be above one of the windows. Barely old enough to exist, we did the opposite of what you are supposed to do and took the bird in, made her a spot in a shoebox and looked up on the internet how to feed tiny baby birds.
In the feel good moment of the year, Cheep survived this harrowing intrusion on our part and became a trusted family pet. As in, trusted to fly around the house and only go bathroom on one set of curtains in the corner, anyhow. Cheep would fly onto my mom's shoulder. It's kind of like how little dogs think they are huge; Cheep probably thought she was some sort of massive parrot.
Cheep set the stage for other birds in the years to come. We had pretty parakeets and I got a lovebird from a friend. For a short period of time, I also had a dove. Out of all the birds, I have to say I loved the dove coos the best, but the parakeets were always the friendliest.
Did I mention we traveled with our pets?
Oh and hamsters. What started out as a Christmas and birthday present for my youngest sister soon turned into a veritable hamster stable when one of the two "females" turned out to have boy bits.
I think I might have mentioned them all. Oh. And the squirrels. My dad likes to feed the squirrels. They're not pets, exactly, but they do come onto our deck and chill.
I embodied this all in a Christmas present I gave my mom two years back:
So yes, that really was just a long winded story to show off "artwork" I did a few years ago. It might happen a few times more this week.
Now I gotta run and pick out a shirt that doesn't need ironing.