Lifescouts: Pet-Owning Badge

Lifescouts: Pet-Owning Badge

I have owned quite a few pets in my life, but before we had any real pets, me and my younger brother used to keep bugs, as I’m sure everyone has at some point. We had a cardboard box in the bottom of my Gran’s garden in our makeshift playhouse where we used to store snails and woodlice, but we’d always be surprised when we came back next time and they had all escaped or what we found was a little bug cemetery.

After much persuasion after seeing my best friend’s new hamster and many promises of taking care of him like he was my own child, I received my first real pet for my 7th birthday; a ginger hamster called Nibbles. This hamster caused many traumas in my house, it ran underneath settees, bit people on occasion and numerous times tried to devour the giant spider that lived near the radiator. Nibbles lived to the grand old age of 3, which was about 150 in hamster years, but sadly passed away after breaking both its back legs caused by a pretty adventurous jump around his cage.

After we moved house, we decided as a family that we should get a rabbit and purchased a black and white bunny called Benjy. This rabbit ended up being the fattest rabbit I have ever seen! Despite never really overfeeding him he became so fat that he would just sit, in the sun, with his head buried in his several chins. He was also pretty bad for scratching, didn’t really appreciate human contact and had several unsuccessful escape attempts in his time.

We then thought the natural progression was to get a dog, we got a black Labrador called Megan and a couple of years later got another called Bramble, to keep her company. They are both adorable and a little bit stupid and live in a kennel in our garden (don’t think I’m mean! It’s not my fault!).

Lazy dogs in the car

Lazy dogs in the car!

Me and my brother got pet mice soon after this, Twinkle and Sulu, unfortunately on the first day we got them Sulu decided it would be a great idea to fling herself from my mum’s hand against the side of the cage and subsequently broke her spine. A replacement mouse was found and her name was Maddie. Maddie and Twinkle were escape artists, they used to do the monkey bars across the top of the cage and swing themselves out of the gaps! They were found in bins, under chairs and just generally anywhere they shouldn’t be.

The final pet my family ended up owning, was a guinea pig called Ziva (have you never watched NCIS?!). We never intended on owning a guinea pig but after the two ‘same sex’ guinea pigs my next door neighbours bought had babies (and then babies again and again..) we couldn’t resist.

Currently we have 3 surviving pets, the two dogs and the guinea pig, to be honest I think that is enough; I hate to think about how much time I have spent cleaning out animals! I’m not sure whether or not I want pets when I’m older, although I do think that any of my future children would probably miss out if they didn’t grow up with animals the way that I did.

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