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home : blogs_old : quad-city creature blog March 26, 2015

Quad-City Creatures
By Heidi Dahms Foster, Prescott Valley, Arizona
A local blog all about pets and pet activities in the quad-city area.PV, Prescott and beyond.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I've had some weird pets, but...

Heidi Dahms Foster

We share our home with more normal pets these days, such as the lovely Captain. I had to rescue a tarantula from him one day, because he thought it was a little stuffed toy!

Talk about weird pets. Yavapai County Sheriff's spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn said deputies on Sept. 15 confiscated a rattlesnake and a couple of alligators from a Bagdad man, and then gave him a citation for the marijuana drug paraphernalia they found in his home.

I don't know about the guy in Bagdad, but I can tell you, I would need drugs if I was sharing my home with a rattlesnake and two alligators. It's bad enough when the dogs and cats get hungry - the cacophony of meowing and barking is enough to make me think I live in a zoo. On second thought, maybe I do.

I grew up with such a plethora of odd pets that my current household of kitties and doggies seems rather tame. At various times during my childhood, we had tarantula spiders, an iguana, rats, bullsnakes, ferrets, fish, a mynah bird, skunks, and of course, horses, dogs and cats. Let me introduce you to a couple of them...

Long George, the iguana, was a Mother's Day gift to my mom from her then-husband (no, the gift was not the reason for the breakup). Long George was just that, six feet long, and used to hang out on the back of the couch. If you ticked him off, he would swing that four-foot tail and whack you good. Very cuddly, was George.

I learned to kind of like those tarantulas. I could pick them up and carry them around, and that served me well at camp one summer when I decided to torment a couple of counselors. I don't think they've forgiven me yet.

Mom and my stepdad used to run an import shop on Whiskey Row in Prescott, where they also had a couple of huge aquariums that housed a couple of large bullsnakes. One day, they got loose, and we spent all morning hoping to find them before they frightened a customer into heart failure.

Rats are fun pets, because they are truly smart. My mom had one she named Rhoda. Mom enjoyed her glass of wine at night, but she would leave a bit in the bottom of the glass, which Rhoda thoroughly enjoyed. One night we observed a very tipsy Rhoda meandering across the living room floor.

The mynah bird, Jackpot, was a perfect mimic. If anyone called in our house, we had to go and look, because until we saw the caller, we could be pretty sure it was Jack.

Farrah the Ferret was a beastly little critter who used to hang out under the couch, run out and bite, and then retreat. I never knew what was going to leap out at me from one day to the next. I've survived dog bites, rat bites, ferret bites, and oh, yes, skunk bites.

Mom had two skunks, properly descented, that lived in a big covered area outside. One day she noticed a skunk with a can stuck on its head, wandering around our yard. She told me to go and check our skunks, but she was sure this one was ours. She picked it up, removed the can, and carried it gently to the house, at which time I informed her our skunks were safe and sound inside their pen. If she had nicely put the skunk down and moved away, she would have been fine. But she tossed Mr. Skunk, and spent the next hour in the shower begging for more tomato juice.

I've enjoyed all of our pets, but I still think I'm happiest tucked in my easy chair with a good book, surrounded by what my husband and I refer to as "puppy and kitty carnage," an assortment of healthy, contented, snoozing dogs and cats scattered around the living room floor.

Life doesn't get much better than that.

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