Sunday, January 20

Worms

My mom is not a "pet" person. When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a vet. I wanted a farm with horses, a ridiculous number of cats, and plenty of dogs. Because I was a kid and impractical, my list of wanted pets also included monkeys and maybe a tiger. What I got were worms.

Yup. I would dig up worms, name them, and keep them in pots of dirt on the patio. I would BEG for a cat instead. My mother told me, "When you're a grown-up, you can have a hundred pets if you want. But this is my house. No cats."

Well, grow up I did. Four kids . . . hopefully more. A crazy, busy house. And LOTS of pets. I have three dogs: Dreamer (in the picture), Chip (and overweight, utterly disobedient corgi), and Cosmo (Dreamer's brother). We also have a cockatoo (very noisy, says "I love you" when I yell at her to be quiet). A lovebird (constantly loose as the baby--age two--loves the bird). A beta fish named Azure. And . . . a python. Now, Lydia the python is my LEAST favorite pet, but my older son loves her. There has been a tremendous amount of angst on my part over Lydia, because she eats small rats once a month (and I am a Buddhist and don't eat meat and most certainly feel horrible condemning little rats to the execution chamber). However, I try to be tolerant of Lydia and do indeed agree she is beautiful when she suns herself on her rock.

Now my house is as chaotic as they come. And even though I have a beautiful view of the creek out back and a big back yard, my dream is to go more rural in a couple of years and get those horses--or buy one to ride this year as there are a couple of horse farms nearby. And somewhere along the line, I gave up any hope or thought of having a quiet house, an orderly house, a house where I can write in peace, classical music drifting from the stereo. More likely there are birds squawking, dogs barking, violins playing (oldest daughter is a musician), horns blaring (son plays horn), drums beating (younger daughter plays drums), and one very talkative 2-year-old begging me to come play trucks and trains with him. When my mother visits, I am sure she has a cow. But she's used to me by now. And if she ever comments about the chaos, I do tell her, "You always said when I grew up, I could have as many pets as I wanted."

How about you? Does your childhood influence the pets you now have or want to have someday?

12 comments:

The Story Siren said...

Well when i was growing up i was in 4-h, so i had lots of animals at my house. my dad raised beef cattle and still does, we always had at least 20 head of cattle. we had three horses, which are mainly my sisters, and she still has them. we had a rabbitry, isn't that a neat word, i had over 35 rabbits, just three different breeds, nettherland dwarfs, holland lops and new zealand whites, but we sold them all since my sisters weren't into showing them like me. we had chickens that we showed, and we still have them. sheep, and goats too, plus we had dogs and cats. my other sister had a hamster, and i had a tree frog named herman, an anole, which is a small lizard named speedy and a cockatiel named georgy. oh and we had a fish tank! after all that....... the only animal i have now, is a dog! and i am very happy! but i did love having all those animals. i think i would at least like to have a fish tank... and maybe another dog! :)

Alyson Noel said...

Wow-- all that and you're still so prolific! HOW do you do it? I suppose that's another post--

Back to pets- My mom was also a neat, tidy, no-pets kind of gal. But she was outnumbered, which means I grew up with-- rabbits, dogs, turtles, lizards, fish, tarantulas, horses, snakes (a boa constrictor), an aviary full of exotic birds--but no cats since my dad was allergic.

And now that I'm grown up-- I have no pets! Though I do yearn for a dog the way some women yearn for a baby-- but I have three more years of free flying left from my airline furlough-- and since I plan to make the most of it-- for now, it's on hold!

Dreamer is absolutely dreamy--lucky you!

Erica Orloff said...

Wow! Story Siren--very cool!!! I envy all those animals as a child.
E

Erica Orloff said...

Alyson:
How do I do it? A heavy dose of insanity. :-)
E

P.S. Though in all seriousness, I think it's "giving up" the idea of a pefect neat house and perfect silence and a lot of things I thought were needed in order for me to write.

Amanda Ashby said...

Erica, that is such an AMAZING photo of you and Dreamer!!!

My mother hated animals and apart from a cat we didn't have any. Though growing up in Australia, there was quite a lot going on the in the back yard - both blue tongue and frilly lizards, snakes, lorikeets, grasshoppers and all other sorts of creepy crawlies!!

mary kennedy said...

Love hearing the pet stories! I thnk there is some sort of mystical connection between writers and cats. Almost all my writer pals are big time cat lovers and support animal causes. Here in Delaware (and they're also expanding into Pennsylvania)is a terrific organization called Forgotten Cats. They help feral and homeless cats throughout the state through their medical and neutering program, followed by adoption through PetSmart. What a great idea. If only they had something like this in every state!To find out more about them, go to www.forgottencats.org and I have a link on my website, www.marykennedy.net Good to meet other cat lovers! best, mary kennedy SECRETS OF A SOUTH BEACH PRINCESS

Erica Orloff said...

Hey Amanda:
Thanks! She's a sweetie. And she was rescued from not the best situation. That's why we got her AND her brother. Originally, we went for one.
E

Erica Orloff said...

Mary:
I had cats until I married an allergic guy . . . I adore them. They seem to intuit what you think. Dogs are more needy. LOL! But I love my dogs, too!
E

Sara Hantz said...

Awwww that pic of you and Dreamer is so cute!! We only had a dog when I was young. My dh on the other hand had all sorts.... which is why our children did!

Gerb said...

Very cute picture of you and Dreamer.

Growing up, we couldn't have dogs and cats because my dad is blind and he was worried about stepping on the animals. Ironically, once all we kids grew up and moved out of the house, my mom got not one but two cats!

We have dogs, though I love cats, too, but my husband is allergic.

BTW, when I read the bit about your mother-in-law having a cow, I thought, well - it would fit right in! : )

Gerb

Erica Orloff said...

Hi Gerb:
My dad is blind--but he's only lost his sight in the last two years. He comes and stays for weeks at a time in my house, and it's SO stressful with the dogs. I can crate the pups and they are quite sweet about it, but big fat corgi is more like a rug, and he won't MOVE and dad is always looking for him on the floor--corgis are low to the ground to begin with. Anyway . . . some days, I just want to run away. LOL!
E

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