What makes a pet a pet anyway?

Some “animals” just aren’t pets, or at least shouldn’t be, in my opinion. And while I understand that many people – including a few of my dearest friends (in other words “no offense”) – will disagree, I stand by this opinion.

“Like what” you ask? Well, that’s easy: snakes, alligators, hyenas, spiders, lizards, tigers, mice, “exotic” insects, and whales – to name a few.

 Basically, if it slithers, scuttles, has enormous teeth, won’t fit comfortably on my couch, or is bigger than my car, it’s out.

I’m thinking of this because of a dillemma my little sister is currently facing with regard to my nephew’s “pet.” Allow me to paint you a picture:

Nugget nephew was at a fair – remember this because it will be important – a STATE FAIR – with his dad. He was playing one of those throw-the-ball-into-the-bowl-and-win-a-fish games. Turns out, some of the kids were doing so great they were winning IGUANAS.

Yes, iguanas.

No, I don’t know why a state fair would be giving out iguanas. Yes, I’m sure there is no way this could possibly be legal – right??? Well, it WAS in Louisiana. Yes, I realize that might be just the caveat that makes you say “ooooooooh.”

Well, Nugget nephew did NOT win an iguana. But his little game-playing neighbor did. And when neighbor’s dad realized what his son had just been handed, he said “HELL NO YOU CAN’T HAVE THAT” and promptly offered it to Nugget nephew. At this point, my brother-in-law decided that keeping it would be a GREAT idea. He changed his mind 2 days later when the pet store bill reached nearly $200 for the required supplies to care for this lizard.

Anyway, the “pet” was brought home, given a name, and given copious amounts of love and attention by Nugget.

Until, it escaped its cage.

My line of thinking is if an animal escapes from its cage then it is clearly attempting to leave your abode and you should do  your best to assist it on its journey. Particularly if it wasn’t truly a pet to begin with (see above). But Nugget disagrees and just wants his dumb lizard back.

Have you ever really spent any time with an iguana? Because I have. When I was in college, my cousin and I shared an AWESOME (college translation = rundown, crack house neighborhood, trashy, super close to the bars – like within walking distance – thank heaven) apartment. While there, one of our friends who owned 2 (yes, 2) iguanas, asked us to lizard sit for him for a little over a month while he went on tour as a bouncer with his friend’s band.

We said yes.

I’d imagined these cute little garden lizards, happily living in their 5 gallon fish tank with a tiny rock to lie upon as they spent their days lounging under a heat lamp and taking a dip in their little pond to cool  off. I figured these would be the lettuce and carrot eating variety and I was down with all of that.

What we got was more like this:

2 GI-friggin-NORMOUS lizards in two HUGE 4-foot long tanks. Thanks that stunk. And they did not have little rocks and ponds but rather had some stinky flooring material and a water bowl. A WATER BOWL. They were huge. And they farted. Often. And it was squishy and unpleasant sounding.

After 2 months – instead of the original one month – my cousin and I began referring to their interruptive bowel howling while we watched a movie as the “soundtrack of our lives.” It had gotten that bad. We were afraid to clean the “kennels” (it isn’t even right to think of those as tanks or bowls or habitats) because they were so big. And it was harder enough to feed them! Don’t even ask – I’m actively blocking that part from my memory.

So, suffice to say that when I heard Nugget had gotten a lizard my first thought was “are you INSANE?!” And my second thought was “OMG throw it out NOW.”  

She was in total agreement but was nervous because Nugget was sooo attached….until….it escaped.

It was missing for over a week – Sis thought she’d dodged a bullet and that thing was gone-baby-gone.

Until….she found it under Nugget’s bookshelf.

My first thought was “Eeeewwww – it has been POOPING all over that room!!!!” My second thought was “OMG throw it out NOW.”

But she’s having moral issues. She claims it is a living thing and that throwing it out would mean certain death. I disagree. Per my statement above, it was TRYING to escape – she is merely helping it on its path. Also, it will have SO many bugs to eat once it gets out. I mean, they live in Louisiana for heaven’s sake. And near a lake. It will be FINE! Right?

I say “not a pet – it’s trying to escape – OMG throw it out and by a fish.” She says “it’s a living creature and I can’t effectively kill it by throwing it out.” I say “it’s been surviving and pooping all around your house for over a week as it frantically searches for an exit.” She says “but maybe not it might have been trying to get back in its cage after spotting a menacing spider that it saved Nugget from. It could be a hero lizard.”


I told sis this was a question for the masses. So – it’s now in your hands, dear readers. Keep it – or OMG THROW IT OUT NOW!?….

4 thoughts on “What makes a pet a pet anyway?

  1. Becky Emmett says:

    Throw it out! It is not a pet (per your definition.. and mine). Perhaps drop it (in a box?) on the doorstep of a local pet store just before opening? Either way, get rid of it. Horrible.

    • Seriously, right?! Dis-gus-ting. And they carry diseases!!! Yuck-o. Lizards do not equal pets. They are not squishy or lovable. Reptiles in general are not pets.

      Will miss you at CES! Leaving on the 6th?? What’s up with that?? 😛

  2. bluebayou says:

    Sorry nugget, a pet is something to love. You can’t love something that won’t EVEN let you pick it up! Send him packing!

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