It was spring, 1971. I was in First Grade. We actually had a long enough lunchtime that students could go home mid-day to eat before returning for afternoon classes.
On this sunny, noontime, I was crossing the mowed lot adjacent to our home. Walking through the low-cut weeks, I saw a couple of little garter snakes slithering away from my feet. I quickly grabbed one in each hand and brought them home. Going into the house through the garage, I saw a big cardboard box sitting on the garbage cans. A perfect spot to save my snakes for later! On the way back to school, after lunch, I checked on my new pets and they were both happily slithering around the bottom of their new home.
Once school was out, I anxiously walked home. I was excited about playing with Sammy and Slinky. As I came around the corner, however, I saw several neighbors congregating at my house…in the garage. As I came up the driveway, a man who lived across the street had my babies. He walked to the side field and threw them into freedom.
You see, unfortunately, my mom had come out of the house and absently walked toward her car. As she looked up, she was eye-to-eye with a snake that was perched on the edge of a large cardboard box atop the garbage cans. Her subsequent blood-curdling screams brought neighbors running from nearby.
Those were my first and last pet snakes.
But they weren’t the end of my passion for all critters.
Over the years, I’ve had hamsters, parakeets, crayfish, ferrets, dogs, and cats. When I had children, I waited expectantly for the first pet request. I waited and I waited.
Kadon finally asked for a hamster when he was in middle school—YES!
Aubrey wanted a guinea pig in Third Grade–YES! I loved that piggie so much that I knew she needed a friend. Then we had TWO piggies…absolute cute overload!
Then Aubrey became obsessed with the idea of a bearded dragon.
Now, this is not fluffy, purry, or…cute?
I couldn’t wait to get it for her. Have I mentioned yet that dragons live around 15 years?
Aubrey named her Rosemeyer.
Last year we thought she was dying. Rosemeyer was lethargic, not eating, and had a dark black beard. A trip to the closest vet who knew anything about reptiles was an hour away. The $90 vet bill revealed that she was a bit dehydrated and very pissed about ovulating. She was a year old and had now reached maturity.
I think I’ve finally fulfilled my need for small, non-canine, or non-feline pets. From here on, no more slithering, crawling, flying, or swimming creatures. I’m done with pets that live in cages or aquariums.
While bearded dragons are interesting and kinda fun, they don’t give a whole lot. The guinea pigs are gone now, but I was the one who took care of them for the last couple of years of their lives. And…my husband would run a grass snake over with the lawnmower before he’d have one in the house.
A snake slithering along the edge of a box, on top of the garbage cans in the garage would probably be the end of him…or our marriage.