I’ve had some crises with pets in my day. I’ve also had a wide variety of pets, both when I was a kid and when my kids were growing up. I’ve had gerbils, rabbits, birds, cats and dogs. Thanks to my son, I’ve had a lot of reptiles and amphibians too, like turtles, frogs, an iguana and several snakes. We kept five frogs alive in a home-made terrarium for five years! That could be some kind of frog longevity record. I’ve also had tanks of tropical fish. These were my least favorite in terms of care and clean up.
One of my favorite ‘pets gone wild’ stories, is about my childhood dog, Schnitzel, a dachshund. I had Schnitzel from the ages of eleven to twenty-six. When he was young, he had a habit of jumping into our lake to chase ducks. Usually he’d come back to shore after a short chase. One day, he was chasing three ducks. The ducks would swim together until Schnitzel got close. Then they’d split off and go in three different directions. That made Schnitzel crazy. He would bark and chase one and then turn around and go in a different direction after a different duck. The ducks stayed calm throughout.
My grandfather and I couldn’t get him to come back to shore. I was afraid that Schnitzel would get tired and drown. So, Grandpa and I got into our canoe and went onto the lake to chase after Schnitzel. So Schnitzel was going after the ducks and we were going after him. As soon as we got close to Schnitzel, he’d take off in another direction and allude us. Just like what the ducks were doing to Schnitzel.
We finally managed to herd him close to shore. I jumped into the lake and grabbed him. We were both covered in mud. So I threw Schnitzel into the swimming pool to clean off and I went in after him, fully clothed. We all came home soaked and exhausted!
Another pet incident happened with my college son’s Python, Princess. My son was at school and my daughter and I were scheduled to leave for Germany the next day. I fed Princess the night before, but I must have forgotten to put the top back on the tank. The morning we had to leave, I discovered the top off and the snake gone! Frantic, my daughter and I searched and searched but couldn’t find Princess.
We had to leave for the airport so I called my son and told him that he had to drive the three hours home to find his lost pet, ASAP. I worried through the entire flight that I had killed my son’s pet, or lost her forever. When we got to Germany, I called home immediately. My son had no trouble finding Princess. He had put her back in her tank and had gone back to school. Crisis averted!
The next pet story involves my nine-year old daughter’s rabbit, Coffee. This rabbit loved to chew wires, eat paper and explore whenever my daughter let her loose in the house. Probably not the best idea, even though we watched her closely when she was out of her cage.
One day, Coffee hopped into the bathroom. Before we could grab her, she wedged herself behind the built-in sink cabinet. We could not get her out. To make a long story short, we had to call a carpenter we knew and told him that it was a life or death emergency. I doubt he got too many calls like that in his line of work!
The carpenter had to take the entire cabinet apart, piece by piece to get the rabbit. Each time he’d get close, she’d move farther back into the built-in. It was not cheap to have the carpenter basically rebuild the entire cabinet. We never let Coffee roam free again.
One other pet problem we had was really not the pet’s fault. We rescued a tiny baby turtle from my mother’s swimming pool. We created a terrarium for him, complete with a swimming pool. We named him Jaws as a joke, because he was so small and cute. The joke was on us. He grew and grew and turned into a humongous snapping turtle. He grew into his name. We couldn’t keep him anymore so we donated him to the local Audubon Society. He was on display there, in a huge tank, for years. Hopefully happy years.
So these are a few of the ‘adventures’ we’ve had with our numerous pets over the years. Nothing earth shattering. But I’ll bet a lot of people have similar stories to tell about their pets.