Monday, September 14, 2009

The Pet Saga

My post yesterday reminded me of K and my Pet Saga, at university. We had decided after one year of res living (after spending high school at boarding school) that we were destined for digs and that we would move each year because, well we could. The warden of our res waved us goodbye, grinning a little too broadly, but we were grinning even more, so we didn't care.

Our first digs was a sprawling old house on the corner of two of the main roads of town (and had the dubious honour of having the only set of robots (traffic lights) and being conveniently close to the bottle store). We shared with one other girl and two boys, one of whom sported a mohawk, many tattoos and the gentlest heart I've ever come across. K and I decided we needed a pet, and heard of a pair of Siamese cats looking for a home. They belonged to the camp hairdresser down the road who'd broken up with his boyfriend, and the cats were casualties of the relationship. We welcomed them in and adored their aristocracy. They stayed a few days and dissappeared, one by one, back to the hairdresser. You can't tell cats where to live.

We persisted, though, and trundled off to the SPCA where we found the sweetest, tiniest, white kitten who we christened Oscar (after the Wilde type). He was gorgeous, we adored him, he gave us ringworm, which we happily (and unknowingly) passed on to all our friends and then he, too, disappeared. We decided we were unfit parents, and left it there. However, the rose-tinted glasses of youth prevailed...

Our choice of digs for third year was a sweet little Victorian which we shared with two other girls. On arrival, my parents were horrified. We had neglected to tell them that said digs was in the, let's just say, less salubrious area of the town (we were separated from the township - horror! horror! - by just a large, and beautiful, graveyard). We soothed their nerves and pointed at burglar bars and promised to get a dog. They were vaguely mollified.

Needless to say, two burglaries in the first week strengthened our desire for said dog. One of our housemates, V, brought Rudy, an enormous, reitired and slobberry St Bernard from friends. He ate us out of house and home and was so sweet-natured that the only possible way he could've protected us would've been by drowning any intruder in slobber. He went back to the friends with much thanks.

Next was Tammy, a rottweiler from the SPCA. She had been returned, they said, a couple of times, but each time we asked why, the SPCA-lady looked sheepish and got 'really busy' fiddling with papers. She was an excessively good guard dog. We took her home and tried to love her but on the third night of her growling viciously at all of us when we got home, baring her teeth to us like a dog in a horror movie, we decided we'd better take her back before she actually wounded one of us, or our friends. On returning her (and feeling really awful at our repeated failures as pet parents) we were told that actually she'd been returned last time for biting her owner's 2-year old and killing their maltese poodle!

Then Lupo, a beautiful golden shepherd who was sweet, barked at potential intruders, and loved us. He disappeared on day 3 or so and we frantically combed the streets looking for him, finding him happily playing, behind a gate, in a garden down the road. We knocked on their door and asked for our dog back. Turns out that actually, he was their dog, who had disappeared two weeks previously. They'd searched for him frantically but to no avail and then, suddenly he'd just returned, like The Prodigal Son. Serendipitous indeed because, although the town was small, it was not that small, so finding himself down the road was very lucky! For them. Not so much for us.

My birthday arrived, and K decided it was time for a new angle. I got home from varsity to find my present - in a bowl, on the lounge table - Humphrey, the most beautiful goldfish ever. I loved him. He was happy, he stayed, he swam around and around, waving his frilly fins at us on each turn. A couple of weeks later I decided he needed some company. Enter Elizabeth, an ever-so-fetching girlfriend for Humphrey. It was love at first sight and they canoodled and kissed and frolicked in their little bowl. It was not to be though. First Elizabeth went, then Humph. We think it was an STD (being modern youth). And that's when we gave up.

Enter Leonard, the plastic dinosaur. He stayed, we loved him. I still need to apologise to D, L's (my first love) younger brother for stealing him. He still lives with me, in the House in the Middle of The Street. And, just for the record, I have become a successful Pet Parent since - The Siamese Princess is 13, and I've had her since she was a kitten, The Big Black Dog has happily been with me for 3 years, and sweet, fat, Babycat for over 5 years.

Was it just youth, I wonder?


Miranda said...

That really is a rather impressive list of short-term animals you had! Leonard has certainly stuck with you through thick and thin tho...

Mud in the City said...

I want a pet!

Maybe I'll have to go down the plastic dinosaur route too....

Shiny said...

Miranda - it's true - not a very good impression of me really... Thank god for Leonard. He's a keeper

Mud - He's a star pet - and so hassle-free. Highly recommended