Who needs a dog in any case?

When your menagerie in­cludes a stick in­sect, a skink, gold­fish, a rat and bees no child is miss­ing out

Rouse Hill Times - - NEWS -

MY SON’S about to turn six, and we’re still not get­ting a dog.

“This is A Thing” be­cause a few years ago, in a mo­ment of weak­ness af­ter months of in­tense lob­by­ing, I told the chil­dren we could get one when our boy was five.

Fool­ishly, I never thought they’d re­mem­ber – and now the deal’s on ice thanks to our too-small yard and the fact that we’re still rent­ing our home.

I’ve been pre­par­ing the kids for dis­ap­point­ment for some time (“we’re not get­ting a dog”) but the pu­rity of child­hood hope means No Dog Day will none­the­less be a bad day. Bro­ken prom­ises will be noted and used to ad- van­tage at a later date. Brownie points will be de­ducted.

I don’t know why they’re so hell­bent on a hound, though, as we’ve had al­ready a range of ex­cel­lent house pests – sorry, house pets. Not many kids could boast a menagerie like this:

Sticky, the Emo­tion­ally In­tel­li­gent Stick In­sect: We dis­cov­ered Sticky in the bushes near the front gate when a twig the length of my arm at­tached it­self clingily to my skirt. Af­ter I screamed, “KILL IT! KILL IT WITH FIRE!” we set­tled into an easy re­la­tion­ship, Sticky and I. I’d go do some gar­den­ing next to Sticky, tell him/her/ it my trou­bles and ask him/ her/it for per­sonal ad­vice. Wisely, Sticky knew when to stay silent and just let me talk. Which was al­ways. I shall never know friend­ship like his/her/its again. It was dev­as­tat­ing when Sticky just up and left one day, with­out a word. Clas­sic Sticky.

Skinky, the Owner-Oc­cu­pier Skink: Skinky is the lat­est of sev­eral gen­er­a­tions of lit­tle lizards to co­habit with us at Mur­phy’s Lodge. Skinky re­sides in the hall by the front door, wel­com­ing guests, of­fer­ing drinks and tut-tut­ting about the state of the Syd­ney prop­erty mar­ket.

Ringy, the Ro­peable Ring­tail Pos­sum: Ringy, who glared crossly at us for a full hour af­ter we un­wit­tingly dis­turbed his bam­boo nest-nook, forced me to an epiphany; that as a pro­fes­sional word cre­ative I need to stop just adding a “y” to make a pet name.

The Gar­gan­tuan Gold­fish: They’re still alive and grossly huge de­spite our years of be­nign ne­glect. I can’t tell you what their names are be­cause we all lost in­ter­est and for­got ages ago. Our only joy is star­tling them by turn­ing on the kitchen light each morn­ing.

The Bi­b­li­cal Plague of Bees: I’m not sure which god I of­fended but it must have been pretty bad judg­ing by the swarm of buzzers that in­vaded our prop­erty re­cently. Ap­par­ently lots were on the move in our area – per­haps they were pri­vate school bees, go­ing on hol­i­day a week early. Not great pets, in hind­sight.

The Dirty Rat: At first I sus­pected we might have a dear lit­tle mouse roam­ing the house at night. How sweet! A few weeks later I noted that it had taken to eat­ing through steel and was crap­ping above its weight.

I gave our “mouse” the ben­e­fit of the doubt un­til it got into a house­guest’s wastepa­per bas­ket and had a shred­ding party that would put a cor­po­rate crim­i­nal to shame. Not cool, rat. It was killed.

‘‘ We’ve had al­ready a range of ex­cel­lent house pests – sorry, house pets

Can you spot Sticky, the emo­tion­ally in­tel­li­gent stick in­sect?

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.