Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Boomerang Pets

When I was younger, I was really, REALLY into turtles.  It got a little ridiculous. So ridiculous that I apparently insisted on one of them making a cameo appearance in my Senior class photos:

One nice spring day, while I washing my car, I took that guy outside to get some fresh air and sunshine.  As it turns out, the whole thing about turtles being slow is a total myth.  I turned my back for just a few minutes, and he disappeared.  We looked everywhere.  We recruited all of the neighbors to check under decks and shrubs, and tore the entire neighborhood apart looking for him.  After a couple of days, I gave up and figured he was gone forever.  Since he was an asian species, I knew that the midwestern weather wouldn't suit him, and he was kind of inefficient at eating the food that I left for him in his cage, so I thought that there was a 0% chance he'd make it in the wild.

All summer there was no sign of him, until one day, in the early fall our neighbor called me over.  One of her students (she was a tutor) found a turtle in her driveway!  I was ecstatic!  He had been gone for six months, and here he was, less than 50 yards from where he went missing!  My personal theory is that he had some adventures to go on during the summer, but once the weather turned, decided "this is crap - I want my heat lamp," and came home.

We recently got back from a week at the beach.  While we were in a store there, my youngest son, Nathan, who is a lover of animals of every kind, found a cage full of hermit crabs for sale.  He decided that he HAD to own one, and asked us every fifteen minutes for the rest of the trip when he could go buy one.  He used nearly every penny of his hard-earned vacation money to buy the crab, and a cage and food for him.  We got a cute little guy with a shell painted to look like a soccer ball.  We took it home and let it out (under close supervision) to crawl around the kitchen of our rental house.  That thing could scoot!  And it was seriously determined; every time we would put it back in the center of our circle of humans, it would make for the nearest exit.

As I wrote last week, a couple of weeks after we came home, Nate was on his way to bed when he noticed that he had left the lid off of the still-unnamed crab's cage, and he escaped.  We tore the house apart looking for the little creature, but had no luck.  We decided to leave the cage on the floor, with the lid off, and with fresh water and food inside, in case he decided to come back on his own.  Every time I walked past that room I'd check in the cage, hoping to see a little soccer ball sitting there, but a week went by with no sightings.  Finally, last night, as Nate was getting ready for bed, he checked the cage and there he was!  Just like he'd never left!  

I was amazed and thrilled, because Nate is super sensitive, and takes the losses of our pets (we've had really bad luck with pets) hard.  He hadn't been too upset this time, but I think that's just because he hadn't entirely given up hope that it would come back.  And lucky for all of us (and the crab), his faith was not misplaced.

Last night, as we were climbing into bed, our older son says "Nate didn't put the lid back on the crab cage right."  He fixed it, and to be fair, it wasn't missing - it just wasn't locked down tight.  Unless he has supercrab strength, or opposable thumbs, I don't think he was getting out.  But I think maybe we'll get a slightly more secure cage.  Otherwise, part II of this story: "the crab who ended up in the washing machine because he was scooped up in a pile of laundry," is probably inevitable.

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