As an Annapolis resident, I’m afraid to admit this. I haven’t always been an animal person. I’m told that I was fond of our family Lizard, Sammy. In fact, my middle name used to be Elizabeth, so it’s likely how my childhood nickname of Lizard came to be.
Later, when I was in fourth grade, it was time for the big leagues. My neighbor trusted me to watch their dog, Calvin. You could say we didn’t get off on the best of foots. Calvin emptied his bladder upon my entrance. Nothing a few paper towels couldn’t help. However, things got very interesting on Christmas Eve when I dropped their house key down a sewer… Talk about some Yuletide excitement. The family wasn’t set to return for a few more days. Thank goodness for the engineering minds of my next-door neighbors who recovered the key with a fishing rod in less than an hour.
One year later, I drew the lucky straw and was the chosen one to take the class hamster home for the first weekend of the school year. My even luckier parents were fortunate to take in those hamster fumes for three days of Labor Day Weekend. I was petting the hamster when he peed in my hand. Startled, I dropped the hamster and ran to get paper towels. These animal adventures were certainly keeping Bounty in business. When I came back, I couldn’t find the hamster. My first thought was that all my classmates would hate me for losing the class pet. Thankfully, he didn’t get too far. I found him on our screened-in porch. Crisis averted, and the class hamster lived to go home with another responsible ten-year-old the next weekend.
Over the years, there were many goldfish in the Burke household. St. Andrews Swim Club would do fun contests on the Fourth of July to win goldfish. If memory serves me right, we won goldfish during a greased watermelon contest. Classic suburbia. The fish won that day didn’t survive their breadcrumbs feeding. However, fish from a pet store did live to see many more days. Our beloved Tic Tac lived to be seven years old. We may or may not have played a few games of tag. There was no greater sign of love to this fish than my father cleaning out our oversized, giant fish tank on Sunday afternoons.
In February 2011, my roommate, Kearny wanted my blessing to bring a puppy into the house. I was on the fence about it. Luckily, that didn’t stop Kearny from bringing home a yellow Lab named Lilly. Before I knew it, I was volunteering for dog sitting again. Lilly kicked like a little kid but I’d still share my bed with her any day. I even brought her to work. I felt like a first-time parent, incredibly nervous while we drove there. One of my favorite memories of Lilly is when my roommates and I came home after a night out in downtown Annapolis. The US Weekly was shred to pieces and The Capital laid next to it unscathed. The girl knew what she liked, and it was clearly a gossip magazine. While no longer my fourth roommate, Lilly lives down the street from me, and I can visit to give her belly rubs any time I want.
Well, I must go search on Petfinder.com or Lab Rescue now. Hope to find my own Lilly one day.