My mom is not an animal lover. She doesn't hate them but she's just not the type of person to go all mushy over kittens and puppies. It took a lot of hardcore campaigning for her to finally give in and let me have a pet. My pal's name was Casey, he was a Bichon. He was a quirky little dog and I loved him but when he died, shortly after I got married, I was devastated.
When Dude was four years old, he started asking for his own pet. I didn't want him to have to experience the pain of losing a pet but I also knew the fun and joy that a furry little pal could bring, so I caved ... and bought him a fish.
Not the heartiest of pets, those fish critters, we had two deaths in under a year. Dorothy the Goldfish, lost her will to live after being fed a handful of cheerios and Mr. Bluefish died while in the care of a known fish hater, investigation still pending. After the trauma of those two deaths, we decided that Dude needed a pet who would stick around a little longer. So we got him a tortoise. Her name is Tuck.
Tuck has been a member of our family for nearly four years. She is pretty low maintenance but still a lot of fun for the kids. She spends most of her day chewing on lettuce in her tank but every evening she gets to roam free in the basement. We all get a kick out of watching her. She has a funny little personality and she's a just right pet for us.
We took Tuck with us to visit my parents at Christmas and had to leave her behind because we didn't have enough room in the van on our return trip. She's been at my parents' place for a month and like I said, she's fairly low maintenance but my mom has been a little stressed out. She's afraid that this pet, with a life expectancy of 40 years, will die on her watch.
The first week or so that my mom was Tuck-sitting was pretty mellow. She called a couple of times with questions and sent a few Facebook updates but that was it. In the last week or two, though, my mom has gone a little nutty. She called me last week because she was worried about Tuck,
Mom - She staring into the corner of her tank and digging. And she bangs her shell against the glass sometimes.
Me- That's what she does.
Mom - She tries to climb out, too.
Me - She wants to get out. She likes to roam around for a little while every day. If you let her out she'll stop doing that.
Mom - She's looking at me, it's freaking me out.
Me - Just let her out for a walk in the family she'll be much happier. Keep her from going under the couch though because you'll have a heck of a time getting her out.
Mom - Okay, we'll let her out when Dad gets home.
Me - Good, put her on a towel though.
Mom - Why?
Me - Because she tends to poop after she's walked around for a bit.
Mom - That's gross.
Me - That's what she does and if you don't clean up the poop right away, she'll eat it. The guy at the pet store says its normal but still...
Mom - That's disgusting. When are you coming for her?
We talked for a couple more minutes then say good bye. About ten minutes later the phone rings again. It's my mom.
Me - Hello
Mom - Tortoises aren't supposed to eat and poop in the same place, it's not what they do.
Me - Ooookay.
Mom - She also should be getting more fruit.
Me - She doesn't like fruit. She likes Romaine lettuce, carrots and green peppers. Where are you getting this information from?
Mom - I Googled it.
Me - You Googled 'Tortoise'?
Mom - Yes, I was worried.
Me - (laughing) You're worried? That's nice, Mom but she's fine. Let her out for a walk and she'll be fine.
Mom - She's staring at me, her face is red and I can hear her breathing. I think she's having a heart attack or something.
Me - (laughing hysterically) She's not having a heart attack. She's a red-footed tortoise, she she has red markings, that's normal. She has nothing to do but look around, get over it. If you're really worried about her, take her out of her tank, give her a cuddle and sing to her. She loves it when you sing to her.
Mom - (offended) I'm serious and I'm not going to cuddle her or sing to her! If you're just going to laugh at me I'm going to hang up.
Me - Bye.
I hang up and the phone rings again, almost instantly.
Mom - This better not show up on you're blog!
Me - (still laughing) yeah, okay Mom.