Monday, March 1, 2010

Pets-How To Damage A Child For Life Part One

At a recent follow-up visit to our vet, I mentioned to him that our little dog was jealous because our big dog was getting drops in his eyes. His suggestion? Give the little dog “pretend” eye drops. Well, I thought, I’ve done stranger things than that, and it got me thinking about other unusual pet experiences I’ve had over the years.

During a moment of temporary insanity, I agreed to get both kids hamsters. Little did I know that I had opened the door to years of joy and intense sorrow. My son was fairly practical—once his hamster died, he would decide if it was worth the work to get another one. I think he had a total of two.

My daughter was a whole different story. Each furry little death caused torrential tears, a brief but adequate mourning period, and then the predictable begging for another one. I admit that when she looked up at me with her big blue eyes, it was just a matter of finding the car keys.

All her hamster’s names started with P, and one day I had a brilliant idea about her hamster Penny. My son’s hamster was a male—you can see where I’m going with this—and what a great life-lesson it would be for my children to experience the miracle of birth! My son chose to play outside during the get-acquainted period, but my daughter didn’t want to miss a minute. After a quick phone call to the pet store to make sure they were willing to take the babies, I prepared Penny for her date. I slipped a piece of cardboard into her contemporary glass house (fish tank) separating it into two spaces. We placed my son’s hamster, Digger, so he was on the other side of the partition from Penny. Slowly, we raised the cardboard so the two could meet. Immediately, both hamsters reared up into standing positions, and claws out and teeth bared, they entered into an ugly dance of violence, fur and blood flying everywhere. I screamed, my daughter’s eyes got bigger than I had ever seen them, and grabbing the cardboard, I managed to separate them. My daughter asked, in a shaky little voice “They don’t like each other, do they?”

Well, the lesson of this story is when you get a hamster at the pet store and they tell you whether it is a girl or a boy hamster, they are really just guessing. Penny became Petey, both hamsters healed up nicely, but I’m sure my daughter’s scars will last a lifetime.

Don’t miss Pets--How To Damage A Child For Life Part 2!

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