When I was a little kid, having a pet was always my “thing.” I had so many hermit crabs and beta fish that eventually throwing them down the toilet became a regular activity. No need for tears. But these non-mammalian animals were merely precursors for the real thing. (I’m only a little ashamed that at age six I thought rodents could be considered real pets.)
So my first real pet was a mouse named Peanut. His death must have been extremely traumatizing to me, though, because I actually have no recollection of ever having a pet mouse named Peanut. The rest of my family had to convince me it was true over Christmas holiday. My second and favorite pet was a hamster, and ironically, his name was Goober. In homage to my pet mouse, perhaps?
When Goober died I went through a slew of other hamsters (whose names I no longer remember). One of them had a large litter of babies. I still have nightmares about the time I woke up to find that she had assassinated all but two of them. After this questionable experience, I retired as rodent owner and focused on the family dogs/guinea pigs.
I won’t even go into the guinea pig story. All I can say is this – they reproduce like a contagious disease and it is a veeery bad idea to leave the lid of their outdoor hutch open.
So basically there were always pets in my life of some kind or another. Since going to college, however, I have been sadly bereft of a pet, and as my apartment does not allow them, it will be a while before I get one. However, I have been noticing a pattern of habits in myself that indicate my petlessness may be a bit of a problem.
They are as follows:
1. Sometimes when I am alone, I find myself talking to things in my apartment. Such as my kitty pillows. “Hi little kitty, would you like some coffee this morning? It’s really good. Oh, maybe you just want me to pet you.” … Yeah. At least if there was an animal – a living, breathing animal – that behavior would be excused. Kind of?
2. I dream about animals on a nightly basis. Most recent one: a horde of ducklings was following me around, quacking “Mother.”
3. Occasionally, my procrastination leads me to the animal section of Pinterest. And doesn’t let me leave until I’m lying prostrate in the middle of my fluffy rug, rueing my lack of cute baby creatures to squeeze.
4. On the rather rare occasions that I do encounter an animal, I use a pet voice that has become dramatically higher and squeakier than the one I used when I was around animals on a daily basis. I think it has alarmed my husband multiple times.
5. Essentially everything I have created in the last few weeks has had to do with animals. Like these bunny pillows. Or this deer wall hanging. I’m even writing a story about a bunny. The madness never stops.
If something similar is happening to you, you might think of investing in a furry little creature for yourself. I recommend a rabbit. That’s what is first on my list. Needless to say, I don’t think this petlessness is good for my health.