Sep 10

Rats? Really?

I thought for the next mini-series of blogs I’d go through each of the twenty-some “things about moi” that I posted on the About Page and give you the why? the how? and the “what the?” behind each of those things that makes me tick.

I assure you it will be chalk full of depth, insight, and…randomness. But that’s all right, right?

Well, I’m going to do it anyway.

So, the first one is (and I quote myself), “I love animals! Me and my family have owned: rabbits, dogs, cats, hamsters, Texas horned toads, salamanders, fish (fresh and saltwater), frogs, a turtle, hermit crabs, a ferrit, boa constrictor, ribbon snake, water dragon, and rats.”

So why do I adore animals so much and why in the world do I adore OWNING animals so much?

Let’s take a look inside my animal-loving, animal-adoring brain, shall we?

First off, I believe I was born with it. From my first memories as a child, I have always loved animals, from the very small to the huge to all the creatures in-between. I was the girl, and still am, who would never killed an ant willingly and cried when I saw kids killing them. I couldn’t help but always think of the family that was wondering where there little “Johnny was.” Yep, on a rainy day, you would find me on the sidewalks picking up every worm I saw and trying to put it back in the grass so it wouldn’t die or get stepped on or become a dissection project for a neighborhood boy. I even wanted to become an animal…but I’ll leave that one for another blog. I cried whenever our puppy got in trouble for peeing on the rug, and swore an oath to my dad that if he “ever shot a deer, I would never ever talk to him again.”

Secondly, I blame my dad. He and his entire family were animal lovers, and I assume this trait goes back for generations. My PopPop–a man who had a temper like a volcano–was the same one who never even considered harming an animal a possibility. Instead, he would trap them in a safe, humane cage, and drive them (sometimes five hours away) out into the woods and let them go. And it was my dad who then taught us from when we were young to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation, including each little bug and butterfly, snake and salamander. A rattlesnake on the road wasn’t something to be afraid of but something to stand in awe of. He taught me and my sisters to respect nature in all it’s forms and to never, ever harm something that cannot speak up or stand up for itself.

Thirdly, well…I blame my dad again. He was the one who indulged our every animal whim and who seemed to love buying and owning animals almost even more than us. While my mom sighed, “Another hamster?” or “Really? A boa constrictor,” we all jumped up and down with excitement as we took our new family member home in it’s little white box. Yes, trips to the pet store for another fish, hamster, snake, or frog were common occurances for me and my sisters…and now much to my husband’s dismay, it is not so unfrequent for me still (bashfully blushing).

Fourthly…I love to take care of things, and especially of those things that need me. Having an animal to feed and pet and care for fulfills something inside me that I can’t explain. And maybe it’s my longing to be needed by something and someone…to know that I’m here for a reason–if for nothing else but for that person or that animal. Or maybe “caring” is a gift that I have kind of like those who have the gift of leadership, compassion, perseverence, etc.

So anyway, that’s a little bit of randomness about why in the world I own a dog and why in the name of all the saints that I now own four–yes four–rats…because ahem, just yesterday I went on my merry way ¬†and bought two new baby rats. And though most people will call that crazy (because everyone knows, including me, that their tails are nothing to look at)…I guess I am crazy.

And I like it.

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