Maybe I should just build an ark. (Long Post.)
October 5, 2007 by sleepynita
When I was a little girl, all I really ever wanted was a cat or a dog. I think because of my love for all things furry or slimy or in a shell I was just a magnet for anything near death, abused, neglected or lost. Almost every week when I was a child there was a new animal in the house waiting to find it’s rightful owners again (and the odd squirrel or gopher – one of which bit me and I still have the scar). Since I was not allowed to have pets for many unreasonable reasons (allergies, too much work, too small a home or my father being traumatized by the asshole that killed the cat) I was more then happy to take care of them for short periods of time. I would even take animal that I watched hit by cars to the vet, knowing that they would die (since there eyes were out of their heads) but wanting them to be held one more time before they died.
I loved having these animals for the small amount of time they were with me (even giving most of them names: Bear, Bernie, Puppy and Red) and some are still very strong in my mind as favorites. Often I would spend hours grooming a matted Cocker Spaniel (Red), getting a stubborn and aggressive Saint Bernard (Bernie) to walk on a leash and eat from my hand and cuddling a giant, unloved and under appreciated Samoyed (Puppy) in my little bed.
My parents never worried about me and these strange animals, for some reason I never had a problem getting them to come to me with a wagging tail, bathing them or getting them to sit for a good brushing. Once when I was a teenager, someone put a dog in my car – I think because they knoew I would take care of it (Puppy the Samoyed). The animals were never assertive or aggressive around me and often were quite protective; maybe because they understood I was just a child trying to help them. In fact the rule was in our house: I could go ahead and find their owners if I gave them a bath and brushed them out. Dad! and I even caught a salamander (George W) in our old apartment (4th floor how he got there, who knows?) but he died before we could help him.
Now, in our neighborhood there are a TON of dogs. In particular there is one very stubborn, smart and friendly Irish Wolfhound that insists on breaking out of his yard regularly. I have caught this dog MANY times and put him back in his yard, shut the gate and left a note for the owners on the door. This dog is the reason I carry a spare leash in my car with a dogbone. I feel that if BuddyLove ever broke out of our home I would want someone like me to catch her and take care of her until I got her back. So maybe my animal karma is a good thing right? (I may add that Dad is not happy when I catch stray dogs unless it is little Spice that lives up the road, so I only grab the dogs that I have caught before or act very submissive to me).
This week has been a busy one for catching dogs and amphibians. I caught the Wolfhound on Saturday when walking Rito and BuddyLove; this time I didn’t need a leash, he walked beside me to his house. Then on Sunday I nearly hit a Chocolate Lab while on the way for groceries. I hopped out of my car to see the dog and he (his name is Finn) came to me wagging and rolled over for a belly rub – in the middle of the road. What a suck. I got another girl that was walking by with her Greyhound to walk him towards my house (with the lucky leash) since I couldn’t put the strange dog in the car with Rito. Finn hung in the backyard with BuddyLove (after I called the owner and he confirmed Finn loves dogs I put mine out there – carefully with him) and played for a bit until his very grateful and crying owner came.
Today, my Mom popped in for a visit and when she walked up our driveway she say something that looked like black frozen poo with legs. This thing was a frozen near death Salamander. We didn’t know what it was at first since he was so curled up and black and wrinkled so I scooped him up in a bowl and brought him inside (LoudGranny and I couldn’t let him die). I put HOT water in a lasagna pan, put a bowl in the water, washed a rock from the garden in HOT water and put the rock in the bowl and then put the dead little guy in there.
The good news is he warmed up fast and turned Black with green stripes quickly. After an hour I packaged him up and I went to the pet store and talked to the Lizard girl.
So IggyPop (what I named him) is a Tiger Salamander (which I figured after googling native amphibians online), native to the area that has missed is burrowing season (which I also figured out online) and will die if released to the wild (duh). He can grow to be 13 inches long (normal is 8), he is currently 6 inches head to tail and is estimated to be 2 years old. He is quite friendly and interactive when he is not frozen.
The good news is that they make very friendly good pets and are easy to take care of. The babies are known as Water Puppies and are sold in may stores, but not here since they are native species and can not be sold. I had a choice to let him go in the ravine knowing he would likely die or keep him as a pet indefinitely. I initially chose to keep him as a pet. But, a few girls at the pet store really liked him and one already had some was pets and asked if I really wanted a lizard or if I just felt obligated to keep him, really I just felt obligated since I was in no way prepared for ever getting a lizard and the Mom in me couldn’t release him and watch him die. So now he is going home to an established terrarium with a couple other Salamanders.
There we go. Now that I know more about them after reading online, I kinda wish I kept the little bugger. Easy to take care of, friendly non-biters, and quite interactive seems like a neat little animal to add to the family. Given where we live, I am sure I will someday catch more.