Collecting Pets

May 1, 20107
By Steve Seum
English Major

Since as long as I can remember, I’ve had a desire to form close bonds with the animals we call pets. Growing up we had one very gentle dog, but when we moved into a larger house that one pet slowly expanded to another dog, then two more dogs, gerbils, fish, hamsters, and very briefly a cat. “Why collect pets?” is the real question I pose. They bring companionship and connection to my family with their unique personalities.

Most recently, we collected the one pet adamantly restricted when I was young—rats—energetic and extremely sociable rats. As my daughter matures and forms friendships outside of the home, I feel our connection slipping. However, our bond has begun to renew with our shared interest in our rats Puff and Gary, as I teach her the responsibility of caring for these two creatures. She invites the rats to climb around her hoodie as do I, their teeth clicking away as they zip up, in, and around our bodies. They provide little moments where time slows and we enjoy a laugh together watching the antics of our new pets.

My brindle boxer Guenevere loves my wife. Every morning, as I drink my coffee, and my wife is in the bathroom getting ready for work, my lovingly-stubborn boxer sits by the kitchen gate and stares at me. Every morning. She waits patiently, her eyes locked on mine, moving only when I walk past her to grab my second cup. Her excitement comes when I open the gate for her as she rushes past to search room by room for my wife so she can become her second shadow. This dog is a reminder of the important part my wife plays in my life, my dog never lets me forget the sacrifices she has made as I work to heal both mind and body. Reminding me daily, with our shared love for my wife, Guenevere is the greatest achievement of my collection

My cat, well, is a cat—and I a dog person. I was in severe pain and not in a solid state of mind while waiting six months for my second back surgery. I was unable to see a path leading to recovery, and my wife was worried I would take my life. It was months of continuous pain, as every night I cried myself to sleep. As I tried my best to find some degree of comfort, I noticed my cat’s presence by my side each night as I stroked his silky golden fur, the gentle vibration of his purr calming me in turn. It was a difficult time, but this surprising bond with my cat, as he searched for his own comfort, may have saved my life. While I worked through this, he provided a bit of light in a time of darkness.

Report this ad I have always craved the companionship that collecting these animals supplies, as they harbor a connection with my children, the love for my wife, and keep me going daily as I in turn give them their best possible life.