The Perfect Fido

If only it was that simple.  If only we were searching for the perfect species of dog.  But no, our search is much more general than that.  My son and I can’t agree on what phylum of pet he should have.  This means we have at least come to an agreement that it can be something in the Animalia kingdom (an animal life form) and not restricted to the Plantae kingdom (which is – you guessed it- a plant).  Beyond that, it’s been open for discussion.

My son says he’s just not a “dog person”.  That’s too bad since we have a dog. I think he could be a “cat person” if given the option.  However, since the dog we have is a certified cat-killer, having a cat is not a good idea.  The combination would likely prove to be deadly for the cat.

We have had our share of pet trauma over the years.  The most recent episode was with a few frogs.  Since I graduated with a biology degree, I will call the frogs by their respective scientific names: one pond frog and two tree frogs.  Their names are derived from the natural habitat from whence they were removed. The unsuspecting amphibians were transplanted to a “Backyard Safari Habitat” that my son got for his 8th birthday hours after capturing the aforementioned, highly scientifically named, “tree” frogs.  The “pond” frog was added to the collection after a successful excursion to Uncle B’s… (are you ready for this??)… pond. (It had to be a pond or the scientific name could not have been “pond” frog.)

All went well with the frogs for several months.  Son enjoyed watching them and occasionally caught grasshoppers and other bugs for them to consume.  Mother (that’s me) bought crickets to provide a stable diet and reliable source of tummy-fill.  And Mother (me again) cleaned the tank and changed the water.  After some time, the primary care giver (ummm…. me) grew tired of the toil, forgetful of the infrequently seen or discussed pets, and got lax in providing food.  One day my son mentioned how the pond frog hadn’t moved in some time.  Oh no! The frogs!

After an appropriate lapse of time following the somber burial ceremony for the pond frog in the front flower garden, I suggested we let the tree frogs go.  It didn’t take a scientist or veterinarian to see the writing on the wall.  The frogs needed to go before the ceremony had to be repeated. The very idea of their release brought on a flow of emotion.  He loved those tree frogs.  He cared for them.  (Well, he loved them anyway.)  In an attempt to convince him that it would be best for the frogs if they went back to the wild, I reminded him that frogs hibernate in the winter and it was getting cooler outside.  I reasoned that probably the pond frog had died because we didn’t have what he needed to hibernate.  I believe my attempts to free the frogs deserved a C for creativity and an I for ingenuity, but likely not an A for accurate, and unfortunately not an E for effective.  Following the second ceremony in the front flower garden, the third captive was released to its homeland.  The frog habitat has sat unoccupied since that time.

So now we are in search of the perfect pet for a young man with a high level of curiosity for unique and intriguing things.  We did our research on the lizards – considering the leopard gecko, crested gecko, and bearded dragon.  The answers for various reasons were ultimately no, no and no.  Our search then turned toward turtles.  The PetCo employee quickly informed me “low maintenance” was not true of any reptiles or amphibians.  She suggested a spider.  I smiled, looked her square in the eyes and said, “Yeah.  Right.”  Then after a pause long enough to make my next statement unmistakably and undeniably emphatically important, I gave my final answer on the subject.  “NO!”  For added effect I chose not to employ my typical level of courtesy and the “thank you” part was notably absent.

Unusually Unusual

Our search has now turned from the usually unusual pets such as lizards, snakes, birds, turtles and spiders, to the unusually unusual options such as Aquasaurs and Sea Monkeys.  People actually pay to keep brine shrimp in their house as a pet?  Realizing his dreams are not matching mine, my son now includes as part of his bedtime prayer, “Please help me find the perfect pet.” Heaven help me!  Why can’t we just get another dog?

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