I admit: I’m a wholehearted dog lover. Ever since I can remember, my family had dogs. First, a wire-haired terrier (after the collie didn’t work out), a Bedlington Terrier, then a Golden Retriever (two!). Later, much later after college and graduate school and first writing jobs and living around the world demanded all my attention and my then-small girls clearly needed a dog in their life, there was a (very chill) King Charles spaniel and now a (very communicative) beagle named Hazel. My wife, who never had a dog growing up, has learned about the love and life these fur-covered, big-hearted creatures add to a family.
It would be easy to go on (and on) about dogs. But I’m intrigued to hear about the other animals that have populated your world. Once Chipper, our Bedlington who looked like a lamb, brought home a collection of new-born baby rabbits. They were so new I spent days trying to feed them with baby formula in an eye dropper, but they never opened their eyes and didn’t survive. Growing up, there was a garden variety of pets ranging from turtles and worms, jars full of lightning bugs (they didn’t last long) and a long parade of goldfish won every year at a local fair (they didn’t last very long either). Much later there was a cat named Secret, who was more like a dog than any cat I’d ever seen. This kind pet stuck close, emulating man’s best friend, and he won the prize for world travel: He was born in Virginia, moved with me to New York, moved to Helsinki and eventually left the earth in Los Angeles.
I bought two turtles on a whim at a Chinese fair when my girls were little, then returned them the same day when I imagined them growing large. We had a hamster that was always biting fingers and drawing blood. We had a parade of different fish that lived only briefly—Cosmo, Cosmo 2 and Fred are the ones I remember. I’ve always thought about owning a baby alligator until it grew too big that I called the zoo to please, please take it away. I’ve always wished I could have a pet chimpanzee, but know that would be cruel. I love elephants and imagine now and then moving to India and keeping one around the house to proudly ride and walk with. My mother had a horse named Gunsmoke that she really loved until her back got bad and she couldn’t ride anymore. I had a neighbor in Los Angeles who kept a pot-bellied pig and another with a six-foot boa constrictor that he loved to wrap around his neck and walk around the street with.
What about you? What pets do you love? Which ones do you have, which ones do you dream of having, which ones do you wish you never got? I’ve written about dogs here before—yielding great enthusiasm from many of you—so I’m thinking we should stick to other species. But if dogs move your heart, then go for it. This is a Saturday thread to have a little fun.
*Photo by Cyndi Monaghan via Getty Images.