I am the kiss of death for small animals.
Not on purpose, but I am still responsible.
If they were people is would be considered Manslaughter, rather than murder.
I saw a cute sign on the window of a pet store and decided to buy the pet du jour.
Hamster w/FREE cage.
I did this without being told that hamsters are the disposable lighters of pets.
Worse than little turtles. (And I had a few dozen of them as a little kid.)
As the clerk was ringing it all up, at a shocking discount, he informed me that the cage can be returned for store credit within the first month after purchase.
When I asked him if the hamster could be returned too, his face went blank and he truly seemed confused about the concept of a hamster being returned.
That should have red flagged me.
The cage came with a five day supply of food.
When I asked how much food should I buy for the hamster, I got the same confused stare.
Why would you need more?
I have to plead momentary cerebral failure because I thought he was just a dumb clerk.
The manager gave me a card with a phone number on it, “Just in case there were any problems”.
And I left with my new friend, “Willow”. (Name stolen from the movie by the same name.)
The evening went well, Willow and I watched hockey and ate a light supper of pellets and pizza.
We shared, and while he seemed to like pizza crust, I was made nauseous by the food pellets.
When I went to bed, he was shoving shredded paper around in the corner.
When I woke up, he was dead.
At least, he looked dead.
He was snout down in the water dish, and I certainly wasn’t going check him for a pulse.
I did poke him with a dull pencil and he didn’t moved, so I pronounced him dead at 7:15am.
Just out of sheer confusion, I called the number on the card the pet store manager gave me.
The recording on the other end immediately told me how sorry the pet store was to hear of the death of my beloved pet and informed me that the pet store also handles beautiful internments and ceremonies for a discount.
I held a brief ceremony in the backyard and buried him by the dead fern.
Willow would have wanted it that way.
In the end, I took the cage back and got store credit.
And with the credit certificate in hand, I did what I should have done in the first place.
Caring for pets is a lot like gardening, if you don’t have the skill for it, leave it to those who do.
My house was like a pet themed Auschwitz.
As inappropriate as that line is, it still fits.
Its a known fact that small children are iffy pet owners.
And really hyper kids are even lower on that totem pole.
And then there was me.
I set the bar when it came to overly hyper, out of control, shitty students, teachers hated me.
And I am fairly certain my little pets were not all that fond of my track record with their kind.
Big dogs are really my genre of pet.
Much more durable.
I once had a 100 pound half-wolf that lived to be 17, which is a long time for a good sized dog.
And that might be my redeeming point.
One big animals for a whole bunch of little ones.
If it turns out that the Almighty scores it that way, I am in there.
And if not, I am more or less an unintentional serial killer.
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