Friday, February 03, 2006

My Favorite Pet

When I was very young my family had a German shepherd, Rena. Rena was kind of mean, at least that's how it seemed to me, but in hindsight maybe she was just rowdy and I was very small at the time. She did chase and nip me. Nevertheless, I was sad to leave her behind when we moved to another town, when I was five. The new house had no fence, so we couldn't take her with us. She was given away to the proverbial "place in the country, with lots of room to run around." Not my favorite all-time pet.

At the new house, we had a mixed breed terrier, Peanuts. He was a good dog, no trouble at all, liked to lie under the coffee table. When he wanted to go out, we let him out, and when he felt like coming back, he would whine at the door and we would let him in. Best thing about Peanuts was, early summer mornings when I went for my nature walks, he always wanted to go too. In some ways, he was my favorite, but he wasn't my dog, he was a family dog.

I've never had another dog--now they are too much work. We've had cats. None of the cats is qualified to be my favorite pet. We've had fish. Eh. I had a snake once, when I was about 10, but that was just an adventure, and it was way more trouble than it was worth.

My favorite pet was Hammie the Hamster. Hammie was easy to take care of--we could leave him alone for a long weekend by getting the right kind of food and water dispensers. Just clean out the cage once a week or so. He was obviously warm-blooded, unlike the fish or the snake. Hammie was cute and kind of cuddly. He didn't mind being picked up and petted, but he wasn't pining for company if we left him alone for days at a time. He didn't make any noise at all, unless his exercise wheel got squeaky, and then we did hear that all night, every night, but I didn't mind it--in a way it was inspiring. How am I going to complain about getting up for my morning jog, when Hammie's been on the treadmill all night.

Overall, I'd say a hamster is my ideal pet. And the very best thing about them is that the typical hamster lifespan is about two years. So just about the time I started to get tired of cleaning the cage: sayonara, Hammie, R.I.P.

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