I love animals, but after three dogs and a string of cats over
the years, this Mom is a little pet-weary. So last Saturday, when
Miss Holly decided she wanted Hermit crabs, I suggested we go to
the library to research them. You know, to see if they're difficult
to feed and care for.
I had my fingers crossed, but no luck.
"Guess what they eat?" Holly asked. "Cookies," she
announced, not waiting for my reply. "We'll be a perfect
So now she has cookie-eating crabs.
And not one, but two. Seems the darned book also mentioned
something about getting at least two, lest the one gets lonely.
I told her we would get them on her birthday, which is today,
but she wanted to go to the pet store "just to have a look."
I should have known better.
Off we went and no one was more surprised than I by how
irresistible they were. I caved and we bought them on the spot.
Trouble was, we were on our way to Noah's soccer game at the
Sportsplex. I wasn't about to leave them in the car, so we brought
them in with us. I doubt they appreciated the cheering crowd - or
that time Noah's teammate, Chase, body-slammed the Plexiglas right
in front of us during a tussle for control of the ball - but they
huddled together in their box in Holly's lap and made the best of
They do make good pets, but our cat doesn't agree. Holly's
bedroom door now bears a sign that reads, "No cats allowed!"
Posey's bed (an old cardboard box bearing his name in crayon and a
pillow dusted with cat-nip) has been relegated to the hallway, so
he's reduced to peering at George and Bert (with the disdain of
"Garfield") throught the heating vent. It's kind of
Noah woke me up at 4 o'clock the next morning to alert me to the
fact that he wanted hermit crabs, too.
"Can't you share?" I asked, my eyes still hopelessly closed.
"Not really, Mom. They're hers," he explained.
"But you named one. Doesn't that make it 'sort of' yours?"
He didn't think so.
Later, Holly lobbied on Noah's behalf. I finally opened my
"That's very sweet, Holl, but weren't they one of your birthday
presents?" I asked, losing another parenting battle before my feet
even hit the floor.
This wasn't going well.
So now we have two more hermit crabs, Fred and Roy, who live in
From what I hear these guys will outlive Posey and Jake, our
sweet Golden Retriever, and will still be hangin' at the DuBose
Ranch long after the kids leave for college.
Wow. So guess who will do most of the work? I think
I can manage this, so long as they don't make me chase them, like
Jake recently did.
Jake, my goofy boy, bolted past the two new plumbers I'd called
for an estimate, to his best dog-friend Charlie's house. Again.
I have a history of pets who give me a run for my money, so to
Posey, our Maine Coon kitty, is sorely miffed by his
indoor-kitty status and lays in wait for any opportunity to slip
out and run laps around the house through the snow.
I'm thrilled Spring is near. My sneakers will finally dry
But I'll never forget the time that Abby, the dear St. Bernard
puppy we had years ago, stealthily sidled past me out the front
door and bolted for freedom.
Months before, I'd dashed with her out the door after she
squatted on the rug. Baby Holly, not appreciating my divided
attention, ditched her diaper and climbed onto the dining room
window sill and cried for me, while four-year-old Noah shouted
demands for my internet password from an upstairs window.
I'm sure the neighbors were delighted.
So by the time Abby ran off, I was already accustomed to
humiliation and thought nothing of grabbing a leftover Cornish Hen
from the fridge, hoisting baby Holly up on one hip (lest she do a
repeat performance on the window sill) and sprinting outside after
my spirited dog. I stood in the middle of the street waving
the hen over my head like a lunatic and begged Abby to return as
she galloped down the street and out of sight.
Suffice it to say that I got her back, but to this day I
can't remember how.
All I remember is the running. With Holly and the Hen.
Maybe it's a plot to get me to exercise.
Well, I'm on to you now, you pet-plotting exercise fanatics.
We finally have pets that don't run too fast, who apparently
enjoy an occasional cookie. That makes this mom very happy.
Jennifer DuBose, M.S., C.A.S., is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in Batavia.
See more of Jennifer's stories here.
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