Saturday, April 6, 2013


Howl: A Collection of the Best Contemporary Dog Wit  Editors of BARk
Weight: 1.2 lbs
Method of Disposal: Donating

I guess I have become a crazy animal woman, despite myself.  As a child, I was obsessed.  I watched every nature documentary I could find, read every book about critters my parents gave me, "adopted" as many as I could with my meager earnings from doing chores(you pay a fee and the wildlife group sends you a picture and certificate of adoption), drew/colored/hung up signs around the neighborhood encouraging people to save endangered animals.  High School/College I had what some might call a healthy appreciation of animals.  I loved them, but I did not fawn all over them or really think about them all that much.  I scoffed at "dog people" and "cat people" were beyond the realm of believability.  I say that, but I did become a vegetarian to cause as little harm to other living creatures as possible while in college.  BUT I had read an article linking animal oppression to SEX OPPRESSION!  And I loved women... I did not dream I would dedicate so much of my life to them in the years after college.  I, for sure, never thought I would dress a dog up, much less pay for the outfit. 

I would have told you that no, I would never drive to Knoxville, TN just to get two gerbils from an animal control facility.  I probably wouldn't have even said that.  I would have just looked at you warily and walked away.  As it is, my buddy, Skye, and I drove to Knoxville to get Papi and Prim in July of 2013.  She is a good friend.  I called her that morning, and she agreed to come even though she had to be at work that night, hadn't slept yet, and thought I said we were going to Kentucky for Guinea Pigs.  She is a good friend or someone with no self-preservation instinct.  I am not sure which.  We rode along, and I rambled on about anything and everything, listening to ridiculous music and pointing out fun places I wish we could stop along the way--like a billboard that proclaimed something along the lines of "Cows, Cheese, Wow!"  My dear friend had just moved back overseas, and I was a bit of a mess.  Fluctuating between being incredibly happy/excited by the trip to nervous/anxious/sad about potentially losing a friend.  I knew I was missing her when I would turn on the billboard hits she had always liked, and I had always hated.  I forced Skye to listen to them, smiling deviously and blushing.  I had never even let Harriet listen to them in my car during the year she was here and now I was making Skye suffer them even as she was doing me a good deed.  Sucks to be my friend, I guess!

When we got to the facility, no one knew where the gerbils had gone to.  They said if we could not find them then they were probably adopted.  This was alarming.  I had been e-mailing with a nice woman about holding them since we would be making quite the drive.  Not to mention, it was discomforting that no one could confirm or deny that they were adopted.  We finally found them on the floor, up against a wall, with a sign stating that gerbils learned about the world with their teeth.  Do not be alarmed if they bite you!  The cage I had waiting in the car was a huge improvement over their current digs, and I was feeling really good about taking them home.  I filled out the application, paid the adoption fee, and we turned around and headed back home with them seat belted in the back. 

We were told they were two boys, Ishmael and Queequeg.  I loved the names and was tempted to keep them.  Sherlock and Watson would be pretty cute too though...

My other dear friend, Tracy, had drawn them a welcome home card and brought treats.  I showed them off, and they started humping like fiends.  I was sure babies would soon follow, and I might have panicked.  They weren't boys after all!  As it turns out, they were both girls, and I joked about how I had adopted lesbian gerbils.  Holler.  I let Harriet name them.  She decided on the names of her childhood rabbits, Poppy and Primrose, also important flowers in England.  Over time, I molded them to fit me better and to fit the personalities of the two little rodents.  Papi is the dark-haired one and Prim was the blonde.

They were incredibly messy and destructive, frequently making me laugh, though also making me vow I would never get another gerbil again.  I would stick to hamsters in the future.  They seemed much cleaner.  The other day I went to feed the babies and found Prim dead, outside of her hut.  I buried her and moved Papi to a new, clean cage.  Papi has taken to sleeping on top of the hut when she sleeps and staying up throughout the day when she should be asleep.  I wonder what is going through her little mind.  I did not expect to lose Prim so quickly, and I hope Papi perseveres for much longer.

All of this is to say, rest in peace Queequeg/Watson/Primrose/Prim.  Thank you for spending your life with me.  I hope you had a happy one.


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