For example, while I was reading Jenny Lawson's (aka The Bloggess) post about the duck that the homeless people ate, I was reminded of the baby duck that I had when I was about 3. I can't remember the exact circumstances surrounding the main event, but somehow they don't seem terribly abnormal. Anyway. Let me just tell you what happened.
One night, I woke up because I could hear my parents talking in the kitchen, and I went to see what was going on. There was a large wash-tub with a towel draped over it, and a giant heat lamp clamped onto the side of it. My parents warned me not to look in it, which I promptly did. Inside was a tiny, yellow, wet feathered baby duck, and a freshly hatched eggshell. Because I was the first thing he saw, I became his mommy. I named him Baby Huey, and we proceeded to be BFF's. That little duck followed me everywhere! Inside, outside, and since I had no other pets at the time, it was awesome. My dad had raised and sold ducks for as long as I could remember, but I always thought Baby Huey would be safe because he was mine, he was a pet, a friend, and not just some random quacker that lived in the backyard and ran when we tried to get near them. Unfortunately this was not the case, and the day came when Baby Huey got loaded up into the trailer with the other ducks born around the same time as him and shipped off to wherever my dad sold them. I don't know where they went and I've never asked because I really don't want to know. I realize now, as an adult, that they probably weren't sold as lake-fillers but that doesn't mean I have to accept that Baby Huey got eaten either.
Anyway, that wasn't where I was going with this. My point was not that Baby Huey got taken from me, it was the fact that ever since then, my father bombarded me with a vast array of pets, virtually anything I wanted. First he bought a sheep. Her name was Dolly (clearly I was also allowed to name everything that came into our pet family), and she had two little baby sheep. (Kids? Or is that just goats?) I have great memories of riding her around the yard, and encouraging my neighbors belief that her poop pebbles were raisins. (I wasn't always the nicest kid...) I think we got rid of her because she wouldn't let grass grow in the backyard...after her came the turkey. He was awesome. My mom was not happy when we came back from the feed store with him in tow, but WHATEVS, MOM, DAD BOUGHT ME A TURKEY. He was white. And awesome.
We also had a slew of rabbits and chickens over time. Of course I don't remember all of them, but a few do stand out. One chicken we had was that black and white striped kind that's very friendly, and she was such a sweetheart. I called her Henny. (Brilliant at names, wasn't I?) We also had a mini hen and rooster at one point, and then one year we ended up with a crazy mean rooster...he would attack you from behind anytime he had a chance. We ate him. (Seriously.) Plucking him was the worst. Have you ever plucked a chicken? It is very time consuming. We also had a rooster that, when he was young he had acne, or the chicken equivalent I suppose, and ended up blind on one side after a healing 'pimple' closed his right eye up. I used to like sneaking up on his blind side and petting him. He'd always jump and make a crazy noise. I learned my lesson, though, after I tried to do it from under him once (while he was in a tree) and I went for his foot and that big claw thing on the back of his foot split my thumb completely open. Ouch.
One time we had a rabbit that had something wrong with his legs...I don't know if he was missing bones or muscle, or had a weird rabbit disorder, but his legs were basically just fur bags that were useless to him. We had to move him around pretty often, and unfortunately he didn't live that long. I remember one girl rabbit that killed her first litter of babies. She lined them up side by side and stuck all their tiny heads out of the wire...it was really creepy to find. I don't know what drove her to do that. Every litter she had after that was fine.
Ok, sorry, I've gone off on a tangent again. What I've been trying to get at this whole time is, did my dad take to buying me whatever animal I wanted because he felt bad about taking Baby Huey away? I mean, I was pretty devastated, and I was only around 4 at the time it happened, so I probably cried A LOT. Or, did my dad just like collecting animals of any kind, and let me pick them out as a sort of shield to use when my mom expressed frustration that we took in yet another pet? I guess it doesn't really matter, I had fun with all my animals, and they led to me having a lot of crazy stories about them.
(This post addressed the more 'exotic' pets, but we did have normal pets (cats and dogs) too. More on them another day.)