In a moment of weakness sometime after the cats, Misty and Patches, & the dog, Blackie, had passed on to the Rainbow Bridge, I agreed to let our children have “pets of their own”. Sylvia assured me that it would be good for them to learn responsibility caring for a pet and they really missed the animals that had been a part of their early lives. A school friend of my daughters told her about his hamsters litter and she was sure that a hamster was the pet for her. After seeing the little furballs, my son agreed and so they came home with what we had been assured were two little males that could share a cage and the kids could share the job of cleaning, feeding, etc. They were named “Nuzzle” (daughters’) and “Speedy” (sons’) by their proud new owners and they got along really well; a little too well as it turned out! We were awakened one morning by the screams of my daughter to “come quick, something’s wrong with Nuzzle”. It turns out that Nuzzle was really a female and Speedy lived up to his name for what we found in the cage was a squirming mass of flesh colored baby hamsters crawling all over their mother. Speedy was banished to a cage of his own and Nuzzle set about the task of caring for her new brood. Out of the dozen born, nine survived and we faced the task of finding homes for them quickly unless we planned on going into the hamster breeding business. Each of the kids kept one so the parents wouldn’t be lonely (sigh). “Speedy Jr.” joined his dad and “Teeny” took up residence with her mom. Relatives adopted two others and the rest went to the local pet store. I must admit that these lively little critters gave us all many hours of pleasure if you didn’t mind dodging hamster balls as you crossed the family room to sit and watch television!

Our son as a small child had a rabbit named “Dusty” and a guinea pig he called “Patches” because it had the same coloring as our cat. Unfortunately we did not know then what we know now about caring for these wonderful little animals. The guinea pig caught a cold and didn’t survive because his cage was in a drafty location. And the “cute little bunny” grew too BIG for our son to handle so we found it a good home on a farm where he had lots of space to run.

We have also had a large tank of tropical fish. They required a lot of maintenance and we eventually gave then to a neighbor boy that was interested in, and had the time to look after, them. Over the years we learned many valuable lessons and one is to research and know what you are getting into before taking on the great responsibility that comes along with owning any pet.

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