I never really thought of myself as an animal kind of person. I've never dreamed of living on a farm, I fear all dogs larger than a beagle and anything large enough to ride on. But every time we get some new type of pet and I hear my mother sigh when she hears about it, the more I realize that while I may not be an animal kind of person, I am an animal kind of mom.
Growing up, I had pets. Or rather, we had family pets. A dog and a cat, and later a dog and two cats. But no fish, no birds or hamsters or guinea pigs or snakes or turtles or anything like that. Every once in a while we'd have a caterpillar in a mayo jar, or some ill-fated lightning bugs, but no one had any pet that Mom wasn't willing to snuggle with.
Ryan has a bird. She bought it sometime around the first of the year, with her own money, and it lives in her bedroom. I told her from the beginning that it was her bird: hers to feed, hers to clean up after, and hers to bury if it comes to it. Surprisingly, Fibonacci is still alive. So we did some asking around and found a great used cage, much larger than the one she had, for free and for her thirteenth birthday we got Ryan a second bird. And so far Fibonacci and Wycliffe are the best of friends in a giant cage in the corner of Ryan's bedroom.
We have a turtle named Spike. He lives in our hallway and eats veggies and bait. He lives next to the albino catfish who has managed to outlive and/or kill all our other fish. We also have a cat named Cat, a dog named Cheyenne, and 5 of what Tommy calls frog babies in a tub on my kitchen counter (to keep Cat from getting them). I named one of the tadpoles Blondie, because it is slightly lighter than its brethren, and I can't wait to see what kind of frog or toad they all turn out to be.
I understand why my mom didn't want a house full of animals to take care of. But dropping fish food into an aquarium or tadpole tub doesn't take a lot of time. Neither does setting a cup of nightcrawlers in a turtle tank or giving him some lettuce. As for birds, I guess the joke is on her. Her boss loves birds and part of my mom's job description now is to take care of the parakeets, macaws, African grey, cockatoo, and other assorted pet birds in the office. In fact, her boss is the one who gave us the giant cage. It wasn't giant enough for the bird it came with.