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Last week we went to buy turtles.

We’d seen some cute little green ones owned by our neighbors, and they seemed easy to care for. So after a long discussion on responsibility and ownership, we headed to the pet store. Rada had already picked out names for them and was very excited.

The clerk, however, was scandalized at our request, informing us that turtle ownership was illegal in Massachusetts. “You might buy them under the table in Chinatown,” he said, “but you won’t find them here.” Thinking back, I remembered that those turtles we saw did belong to a pleasant Asian family…

Anyway, there we were, stalled in the pet store. Rada looked crestfallen and ready to cry. But instead, like a “phoenix rising from the ashes” of her disappointment, I saw a stubborn determination emerge. And then it slowly dawned on me. I wasn’t going to get out of the place without bringing home some sort of living being in a cardboard box, bowl or plastic bag.

Rada started looking around purposefully for her Plan B pet. Hoping to sway her choice, I pointed out the colorful the betta fish ($1.99 each) but instead she looked admiringly at some bearded lizards ($39.99). Negotiations continued as I ooh-ed and aah-ed over the golden hamsters ($4.99). But she turned up her nose, promptly leading me to the ferrets ($55.99).

Worried that we were headed for a stand-off, I noticed a cage full of white mice. Scrawny little things with red eyes and pink tails, but at $2.29 a piece, I was game. Rada immediately took interest. We found a clerk to help us with our purchase. He was quite surprised and whispered to me that most white mice were purchased… um… for food (the store had a large reptile section).

I nodded pleasantly, assuring him that we definitely wanted them as pets. So he set us up with a cage, wheel, food, bedding, etc. And we took them home.

{ 3 } Comments

  1. Ben | August 7, 2008 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Wow that’s interesting about the black market turtles. Nathan had new turtles in his classroom, I wonder where they came from…

    I had several varieties of rodents as pets when I was a kid, including white feeder mice (I remember buying two with allowance money on an impulse on my way home from school in the 4th grade or so). How many did you get? They like company. They also don’t live very long, which has it’s plusses and minuses.

  2. Molly | August 7, 2008 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    How reassuring to learn of their projected brief life-span. Nonetheless, I’ll supervise diligent care of Sally and Suzie.

  3. stacy | August 8, 2008 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    Ugh. I’m glad we have cats. But I have the feeling that Sam will eventually want some sort of rodent or scaly creature in a cage to take care of. I think it’s a rite of passage for kids. I grew up with cats and dogs, but still had my share of fish and hamsters.

    I vividly remember finding Scooter dead in his Habitrail cage after school one day. I poked him with a pencil and when he didn’t move, my friend and I, in tears, called the pet shop to ask if he was sick. (My parents weren’t home from work yet.) Good stuff.