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
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?