Animal nostalgia

Yesterday I probably spent a good two hours researching small animals I could be allowed to own in our apartment. I love animals. Guion thinks I want a pet because I’m dissatisfied with our marriage, but that is not the case at all. This is how this conversation went last night. Not kidding:

G: Am I not enough for you? Is our marriage so terrible that you must get a pet to lavish your affection on instead?
A: No, no, no, stop being stupid. That’s not it at all. You know very well that I love animals. I love them! Not being able to have an animal is like me telling you that… that… you’re not allowed to listen to music anymore!
G: What? No. Terrible comparison. You looked at animal pictures all day, and now you want one. It would be like me sitting on the Internet all day and then insisting on having a concubine.
A: A CONCUBINE. Really. That’s the BEST analogy you can come up with!?
G: No. But I need an argument.


So, this is the list I came up with (with links to the cutest ones on the Interwebs, in case you don’t know what I’m talking about):

Holland lop rabbit
Zebra finch
Betta fish (This is actually our own Saul Bellow, with Grace imitating him)

Hm. The very interesting thing about this list is the fact that these are all animals I owned when I was a child.

We had a darling dwarf Holland lop named Spencer; to this day, the four of us still swear that he knew how to play hide-and-seek with us.

I had two beautiful budgerigars named Monet and Renoir (I was a pretentious 12-year-old), who drove me crazy even though I had begged for them for my birthday. I prayed one night that they would die, and a week later, off went Renoir. Monet stuck it out for a few more months, until he died of a broken heart, I surmised. I still feel guilty about this.

Kelsey got a Zebra finch named Sprite for some reason or another. He also died rather ceremoniously: apparently got all puffed up one day after we got back from church and we literally watched him keel right over. Sad. We were not the best at keeping birds alive.

And that brings us to the betta ownership. I had one named Napoleon for a while, and now we have Saul Bellow, the sole survivor of my unethical idea for a party decoration (fish in giant glass vases on the table! With names of important 2009 celebrities!). He has grown to be quite handsome and Mother swears that he recognizes her when she walks in. We let her pretend this.

As far as dogs and cats are concerned, I just want another Australian Shepherd, like our gorgeous, highly intelligent and highly neurotic Emma. And I’m not even remotely interested in a cat. Why? Probably because I never had one growing up. Unjust, I know. But true.

So we stand at cross purposes. Guion really doesn’t want an animal in the house; I feel the desperate need for one. A rabbit is my top choice, but Guion insists that they smell (which is only partially true). We also don’t have a pleasant yard for it to graze in. A budgie was my next choice. They are clever and companionable and they like to be scratched and carried around on your finger. But they are messy. And occasionally loud.

I guess we’ll just get a betta then. Ho hum. At least it’s something alive.

Anyone else feel this way? Do you own the same animals you did as a child? Do you wish you had the same pets you did growing up? Am I the only one who lives in this dangerous state of animal nostalgia?

2 thoughts on “Animal nostalgia

  1. Dear Abby: (haha, i’ve been wantin’ to write that…)

    While i would not presume to speak for G, it might be helpful to remember his pet experience in childhood. He was preceded in birth by Goose, a cute little female Lhasa-Poo. She was a great little companion for us all, but went the way of all the Earth when the boys were young. Her image is included in the portrait of Win, you may recall. Old age got her, as it turns out. She died in the night; Windy (my wife, G’s mother) and i buried her out in the side yard in the wee hours. i cut the TV cable while attempting the first “resting place.” Had to move over a few feet.
    Belle was our next pet. She was an English Springer that came to see us that next Christmas. Though Belle became a wonderful girl, she began as a rambunctious puppy and the boys just didn’t really connect. i think Belle was with us 9 years or so, and we found her in the back yard one late afternoon when we returned from a day in Chapel Hill. She’s also buried in the yard; everyone watched as we laid Belle to rest. A painful experience.
    Now, of course, we have Aoife (pron. “Ava”) whom you know. Aoife is a beautiful Springer and is quite unusual in that she actually has two brains. One is lost, and the other is out looking for it. She is occasionally likable.
    So, you see, when it comes to pets, G is well-acquainted with grief.
    May i suggest, therefore, a . . .
    ceiling fan. Much like a fish, because there’s plenty of motion there, but not mobile as in running about the house and getting on the furniture as with dogs and rabbits and such. (i, myself, would not even mention the c-word, and commend your restraint.) The fan does need feeding, but with electricity only, and there are no inconvenient potty habits. A reversible one is desirable so that you can benefit in all seasons. And, you needn’t ever worry about boarding your fan when you go away on a weekend to visit the crowd in NC.
    So, that’s a little nod from me, who loves you both with the fierce loyalty of an Aoife or a Gale (my name for our fan, get it?). Unceasingly, dear daughter…

  2. You’re not the only one. I still want that orangutan my parents refused to steal for me as a child. They should never have let me watch “Dunston Checks In.”

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