Monday, June 27, 2011

Bunnies, Ducks, Hamsters, and Kittens, Oh My!

I have always loved dogs and cats, but allergies prevented me from having any.

My first encounter with a "pet" was probably when I was three years old and we went to visit my Daddy's family in Hungary.  They lived on a farm, and when my Uncle Bela took me to the rabbit hutches, I was thrilled.   I adored those bunnies, and even had favorites.  At the time, no one had the heart to tell me that the ones I hardly noticed would be fried "chicken" in the upcoming weeks.

The day we were leaving, my Uncle Bela wanted my daddy to smuggle my favorite bunny home on the plane with us.  My daddy said that wasn't legal, and my uncle tried to tell him I'd be heartbroken leaving that bunny behind.  Daddy said I'm going to be even more heartbroken leaving my cousins behind, and that he'd sooner be arrested for smuggling one of them home on the plane.  The brothers disagreed about what was best for me, but parted on good terms anyway. (And no cousins were smuggled in the luggage.)

It was soon after we came home (at least in my mind) that my Daddy and my Godfather (his cousin) came home from the farm with two ducks.  I named them Daffy and Daisy.  I loved them very much, and they lived on a diet of Fruity Pebbles™cereal for several months.   Then, however, neighbors complained that they were making too much noise (probably the sugar from the Fruity Pebbles™ making them hyper), and that keeping ducks was against city ordinances.  They either flew away, went to live on a farm, or were Sunday dinner.   I like to think they flew away, and the ducks at a nearby pond are their progeny.

When I was about six years old, my Daddy's friend's son had hamsters.  I thought they were adorable and wanted hamsters of my own.  That year, for my birthday, my Godfather came to my house with a table and a tank.  He and Daddy teased Momma that they were bringing in hamsters.  My mother threw a fuss that no rodents are being invited into her house to be nurtured!  They kept teasing her, but they brought in tropical fish. Though I loved Henrietta (named after Henrietta Hippo from "New Zoo Revue"), Henry (also named after Henrietta Hippo) and their little family of fishes, I still think that if they let me have the hamsters, I wouldn't be afraid of and repulsed by rodents.

When I was in college, a cat snuck into our basement window and had kittens.    Though I really wanted to keep the kitten I had named Tawney, my parents found them all other homes when they were old enough to be weaned.  I'd have preferred to keep Tawney and get allergy shots, but it wasn't my call.

Since then, I haven't had any pets, though I sometimes tease Bob that I'm going to take him to Church to have him blessed on St. Francis Day.   He is a good sport, but he doesn't want to deal with my allergies any more than my parents did.  So for now, I have to be content with BunBun and her family living in my front yard.

This post is part of Peter Pollock's One Word Blog Carnival. Today's word is "pets". Click here to find his and other posts about pets.

I still remember the words to the theme song, btw...


A Joyful Noise said...

We did enjoy our fish tank when the children were living at home. It was so peaceful to gaze at them swim in their forest we had for them (fake of course) I enjoyed your story of your parade of pets or not so pets. I can understand if you are allergic to pets, and a good reason not to have any.

HisFireFly said...

I can understanding thinking of one's husband as a pet .. mine is so very dear to me -- I suppose I am his pet as well.

Chuck Allen said...

This was a cute memoir-like story, Helen. So rabbit tastes like chicken? Be glad you didn't get hamsters, though. My experience has been that they too much noise when you're trying to sleep.

Anonymous said...

Very cool how someone who can't have pets still has lots of great experiences with them! Thanks Helen. This was great!

floyd said...

No Way! The New Zoo Review? I've asked more people than I can recall as an adult if they remember that show. No one has ever even heard of it!
I was OK with the animal characters, but the guy with the mustache that played the guitar kind of bugged me. He bugs me even more now than he did then... I still can't play the guitar...
My middle daughter is allergic to cats as well, we didn't even find out until our old cat Box (his real name) died from cancer. We have dogs that are outside most of the time, and she's at college anyway.
I enjoy stories from childhood. There's nothing better than something we can all relate to. Thanks

Glynn said...

I had a hamster, too! I completely forgot about untilI read your post. Probably because he bit me and drew blood.

Good post, Helen.