Throughout my childhood, I had a few pets, though none of them lasted longer than a few years. When I was five, my parents bought me and my younger brother hermit crabs from a mall kiosk. We were so excited when we walked out of the mall with the crabs in tow and loved watching them (though they didn’t do much but sit there). A dichotomy existed in our relationship with them: even though Andrew and I loved our hermit crabs, we were also really scared of them. We wouldn’t touch them or even stick our hands in their cage for fear of being pinched, so my mom had to do all the work of feeding them and cleaning their cage. We had them for about a year, but I never formed an emotional attachment to them as some do with their pets (I don’t even remember their names).
After the hermit crabs, we adopted some fish from PetCo. When we moved into the house we currently live in, the previous owners gave us their fish tank-it was huge. One of the first things we did when we moved into our new house was go to PetCo to choose our fish. My then five-year old self was fascinated with tanks and tanks of brightly colored fish at the animal store. Our parents let me and my two younger brothers each choose our own fish. I can’t remember what kind of fish we purchased, but together we bought over ten fish. These were probably the longest lasting pets that we had, keeping them for about four years. Sadly, they passed away one by one. I remember sometimes coming home from a restaurant or the store and finding one of the fish floating limply on top of the water. Eventually, only one of Andrew’s and one of my fish were left in this huge tank. One day I found my fish floating on top of the water with bite marks in its side…Andrew’s fish had eaten my fish-it was heartbreaking…(And it wasn’t because they were underfed! We fed them plenty of food everyday).
The hermit crabs and the fish were really the only pets my mom would allow in the house because she’s allergic to dogs and cats. Sometimes in the summers, my brothers and I would catch love bugs and keep them in the old hermit crab cages with some food, but those don’t really count as pets since they usually only survived for a few days in the cages.
If I could have a pet, I would get a medium sized dog-probably a white lab. When I was four, one of our family friend’s white lab had puppies. Our cousins who live in Sugar Land drove down to College Station to adopt one. I remember going with them to help choose their new puppy. We ended up choosing a cute girl one. They named her Kelly. When they took her back to Sugar Land, my grandma who lives near them misunderstood them and kept calling the puppy Candy. So they decided to change her name to Candy. My family and I would drive up to Houston practically every weekend until I entered middle school and began getting busier. Since we saw our cousins and Candy almost every weekend for so many years, my brothers and I all formed an emotional attachment to her. She was the closest we had to a dog. When we were little and my aunt would ask me and my brothers to feed Candy, instead of just putting her two scoops of dog food in her bowl, we would make a trail of dog food around the kitchen. She’s so sweet and never barks. I guess she’s a little bit of a scaredy cat because instead of barking and chasing after squirrels like most dogs, she runs away from them. One time she did chase after a squirrel though: it was perched on top of the backyard fence and Candy ran toward it barking and jumped up as she tried to grab it. She ended up knocking over one whole side of the fence in her excitement…It was really funny but not so good for the fence. Now Candy is 12 years old, so she’s old for a dog. Last summer, she had joint problems and had to visit the vet a lot. My cousins who are both in college don’t see her as much, but whenever my family drives up to Sugar Land (which happens at least once a month) we get to see her, and even though she’s old, she’s still as sweet and cute as ever.
Here’s a recent picture of Candy: