I firmly believe kids should have pets. They help develop a caring attitude and responsibility. Our kids had a full range of normal pets, plus a few non-normal (abnormal?) ones. They had dogs and cats, lambs, calves, pigs and the odd goat or two. By the time they were four, they each had their own horse.
Our daughter ran barrels and poles on the sweetest mare named Ammer. They were a great team. Our oldest son had two goofy horses, Bugsy when he was younger, and Ruff Luck Lynx, aka, Lucky. Somehow he managed to coax success from both of them. Our youngest son was fortunate enough to have a huge, gentle, talented horse called Rimrock. We first got him when Joe was five years old, and he’d sit on Rimrock in a pen with no bridle or saddle while I saddled the other horses. It was the safest place for him to be as some of the horses I rode were colts and not too stable. Rimrock was one of the best babysitters we ever found.
Besides all the regular pets they had, they picked up a few odd ones along the way. My daughter brought a hermit crab home from a trip to the coast, and it lived for years. We’d find a bigger shell every once in a while, and it would move to better quarters.
Every Easter weekend during the seventies and eighties, there was a large barrel race and team roping held in the small town of Murphy, Idaho. The kids spent most of their time catching Horned Toads. There was an abundance of them in the sagebrush area that surrounded the Murphy rodeo grounds. Our middle son brought several home over the years, and they were fun pets. He’d catch ants and feed the toads.
My youngest son’s weird pet was a snake. I know that sounds fairly ordinary, but I didn’t know he had it in his room. I was cleaning one day and lifted a stack of fabric in my sewing room. There was a dried snake skin. Son #2’s secret pet snake was on the loose, and he was afraid he’d get into trouble. He was right. The snake shed its skin as it grew. We never found the snake, and it was a jumpy few months around our house.
The most unusual pet the kids ever had was a spider. It made a web behind the curtain rod, and being the fastidious house cleaner that I am, I didn’t discover it for several months. (No comments on my housekeeping skills here. I’ve heard them all from my mother.) By then, Son #1 discovered that if he got a tiny piece of hamburger and tossed it into the web, the spider would run out, snag it and scurry back to the center of his web. He’d wrap it all up into a ball and eat on it for several days until all the moisture was gone.
One of the kid’s favorite sports was to take a piece of popcorn and toss it into the web. The little spider would race out, grab the popcorn and spin it into a ball. Then it would taste it, realize there wasn’t any moisture, or maybe it just didn’t like popcorn, and would cut it loose and drop in onto the carpet.
The spider lived behind the curtain all one winter. As the weather warmed up the next spring, one day, it was gone.
What are some of the stranger pets you’ve had during your lifetime? Bet you can’t beat a spider.