I was reading an article about great starter pets for kids. I immediately remembered all the pets I used to have. As a young child, I didn’t have any special bond with an animal. I was so afraid of them. The white furry dogs in my uncle’s house scared me a lot. I was afraid that any sudden movement would provoke those dogs; so I just stayed glued on the farthest bench possible. Passing by those animals was an ordeal. I had also encountered dogs from other relatives’ houses. They wagged their tail and barked at me and ran after me. Had it happened to me now, I would also run into them and hug them! But in my child’s mind, those creatures were vicious and would bite me anytime. I would always beg my parents to carry me whenever I see a dog walking freely.
At home, we had a few goldfishes. It was my father who took care of them. I remembered my father scooping one of the fishes and tried to let me touch it. I ran away because I was scared. But I found them fascinating. I loved watching them swim. The decorations were lovely to look at as well. It was like I had a miniature ocean habitat right at home. One by one, the poor fishes started to die. My father wasn’t an expert. He got tired and stopped buying fishes. We didn’t have any other pets for a long time.
Fast forward many years, I was already in college. I wasn’t so scared of animals anymore. In fact, I love them! I would always watch Jeff Corwin on Animal Planet, or true stories about animal miracles and animal abuse. I would always wish to have a pet. It was then that I wondered why I was so scared of them before. We only live in an apartment building, wherein taking care of dogs or cats was discouraged. So we never had those pets. And then, my twin and I decided to buy a hamster.
The moment we bought the Siberian hamster, we instantly fell in love with her. She was very adorable, but a bit panicky. She wouldn’t tolerate too much handling, or she would bite. My dad bought another hamster, a male one, to keep her company. They had litters after litters of babies. But we decided to separate them, as well as the other females from the males. It was quite stressful, for some would bully and hurt the weaker hamsters. It took us some time to find out who got along with whom. We ended up having four hamster cages, and giving some hamsters to a friend. It was about three to four years of hamster keeping. It was fun. They were adorable. Admittedly, I still get scared of handling them too much. Some of them could really get panicky. They would bite you out of nowhere. So most of the time, we would just observe them from outside the cage. Other times, we would scoop them using an empty container and transfer them to a hamster ball to play for a while.
One by one, they lived up to their full lifespan. Though sadly, some lived shorter lives. Those were the heartbreaking moments. After the last hamster passed away, it was like I could still hear the cage wheels squeaking. It’s as if a hamster was still running happily around the wheel. But of course, I know it was just my imagination. I just missed them badly.
Then, a relative of mine happened to give me some parrotfishes to adopt. I loved them. They were big and always hungry. Feeding them was fun. My dad decided to buy another fishes – flowerhorns. We put them on a separate tank (See How to Set Up an Aquarium: What You'll Need). They were also adorable. They would always swim after your finger whenever you point your finger outside the tank. Sometimes, they would even jump out of the water if your hand happens to be above their tank. At the first few months of caring for them, I didn’t feel the fun of it. Water changing their tank was a big chore to me. I didn’t have enough equipment. Only a bucket and a siphon. Carrying a bucket full of water was quite tiresome for a girl like me. Also, they weren’t furry. I couldn’t even hug or kiss them. Too bad. But I learned to like these scaly pets. They were so inquisitive. Whenever I enter inside the room, they would look around curiously. They’re eyes were always searching around. I particularly loved their eyes. They looked so intelligent. They really seemed to understand your movements. When I’m sad, they would swim from the far side of the tank towards me. Seeing that kind of gesture was always a great source of comfort to me. Until now, I’m still having them as my pets. Fishes are after all easy to maintain. They look great in a room. I hope they’ll have long lives.
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