Cute, cuddly or scaly?!
Does your choice of pets have to say anything about you?
My dad has always loved dogs and I think throughout my entire childhood we probably owned about 12 dogs and only had a few sleep in the house. Thanks to my dad’s love for dogs my very best friend was a beautiful white furred Pomeranian dog, Tikki. Cute, really adorable and super cuddly. One of the things I enjoyed was having Tikki waiting for me at the gate, everyday after school, wagging her tail. She was so adorable. I remember the walks to the watering hole and how dirty she would get. She is the reason I have such beautiful memories of my childhood.
I moved to live with my grandmother at the age of 9 and brought home two Maine coon kittens that I had found abandoned. Another love story, although this one was short lived. Let’s say living Osizweni extention 4, was not the ideal place to own cats, and my two little ones were never safe. My grandmother put them in a sac and “let them flow with the river” so that they never come back. Apart from the fact that my skin pilled off relatively easy it was as if I was shedding and my grandmother felt I was having an allergic reaction that was brought by the cats and felt justified in sending them away. No body ever liked them where we lived, they said the cats would grow up and be used for witchcraft - making that would make me an accomplice. No one in the locations was ever really fond of cats, monkeys, snakes, spiders and anything exotic.
I remember at the age of 11 when I moved back to the village with my parents, one of the neighbours screamed at the top of her lungs at about 2am in the morning and woke the entire village claiming that she had just seen a monkey. She took it as far as seeing the chief and having an entire investigation carried out to find out about who the monkey belonged to.
Here is a fantastic story; my boyfriend has snakes! Snakes!!! Really?!
At this point, you understand why I reacted with subdued fear when my boyfriend told me about the fact that he owns two snakes. On one occasions, I went to visit him and I could swear my heart stopped. I don’t remember what scared me the most, the fact that I had already allowed myself to love him or imagining the snakes creep out of the glass cage. I wanted to know what kind of person owns a snake. Was it a personality thing or was it something that he just preferred because of where he grew up? He even owned spiders growing up. Did it score him some “bad-ass points” with the ladies? What made me more inclined to the cute and cuddly? But more importantly, where the snakes a deal breaker? Just like the monkey that visited one of my neighbours in the villages, would I too have to leave?
Some people are allergic to the cute and cuddliest and prefer spiders, birds and sometimes even snakes. The beauty of having options available to us allows us to be unique. My boyfriend has no allergies (not to cats) , he just prefers spiders, squirrels and snakes over dogs, and these animals give him the same comfort that my Tikki gave to me.
I was taught how to fear and kill those things at a very young age. I guess my early childhood training was the reason I judged my boyfriends love for these animals as bizarre. A month into it I realised it hasn’t changed how much love and affection he gives me. We are still tight - snakes and all.