When I was a kid, my mother said, "There will absolutely be NO PETS IN THIS HOUSE!" Here, then, is a list of all the
Pets I Grew Up With
1. Gerbils: Xavier and Myrtle
2. Mice: Shasta, Pepsi, and Millie
3. Several Turtles whose names I forget
4. Dozens of tanks of tropical fish, including a piranha
5. A few garter snakes
6. Hamsters: Peanuts and Amy
7. Dog: Dusty
8. Guinea Pigs: Cory, Toby, and Eric
9. Chicken: Elton10. Bunny: Shiloh
It is worth noting that every single one of these pets lived in the house, except the bunny, who had a deluxe pen outdoors. Not one of these pets made it into our home with my mother's prior approval or her permission. They merely showed up and she could do--and did--nothing about it. My father merely shrugged his shoulders and smiled, knowing his involvement would be nil. Also, my mother immediately liked all of them with the exception of the snakes and the mice, which brings me to a story that is very telling about my mother.
When the mice showed up, Mom was supremely irked, and she made my sister Susan and I promise to keep them upstairs so that she didn't have to see them. As usual, we had no idea how to take care of these pets, and we didn't realize how easily mice can escape any enclosure, no matter how small the opening provided. The mice getting loose was an hourly occurrence, and my mother started threatening to suck them up in the vacuum. One day, she saw Susan's mouse, Millie, the most Houdini-like of the three, scurrying along the livingroom baseboards as we were getting ready to leave for school. "That's IT!" my mother screamed. "NEITHER OF YOU GIRLS IS GOING TO SCHOOL UNTIL YOU FIND THAT MOUSE!"
Millie enjoyed the run of the house for most of the day.