Sunday, July 09, 2006
Free to a Good Home
The first 2 pets Ryan and I had together were Melody and Harmony. Ball pythons. Melody was about a year old when we got her, and Harmony was a brand new baby that curled up in a ball the size of a tennis ball when you picked her up. When we were in college Mel and Harm hung out with us while we were watching movies, we draped them around our shoulders when we were hanging out, and when the apartment building caught on fire they were the first things I thought of.
Then things changed. We bought a house. We got a dog. Then another. The snakes moved from the living room to the den. They didn't get to come out as much anymore because of the dogs, and letting them roam around was out of the question. They only eat every 10 days or so, but our new house is about 35 minutes from the snake food store so it became a hassle.
Recently we had to admit to ourselves that we are failures. I cry when I read articles about people who take their pets to shelters because they just don't fit into the family's life anymore. I give money to charities that take in these animals. I even stopped talking to a guy at work that I used to hang out with specifically because he gave up on a dog he'd adopted. And here we are. We failed those snakes. They didn't get enough attention. We didn't give them the best cage they could have. We're failures.
The snakes really are Ryan's. I knew he'd been thinking about trying to find them a new, caring owner for a while. Months. He's brought it up to me to get my feelings on it many times. I had a hard time saying anything about it because I knew we'd failed. And I honestly felt that someone else might love them and pay more attention to them. So that's the answer? So if making the choice to find them a new home is the best thing we could do for them at this point, I should feel good about that right?
I didn't know Ryan had placed an ad in the paper. The phone started ringing yesterday early. They were people looking for pets for their kids (not gonna happen!), a guy looking for 'breeding' snakes (my girls would be whores!), people who didn't speak english well, people who wanted to add to their already large collections.... but the point was all these people really wanted snakes. The call that stuck out was a nice younger guy who said his dad had told him about the ad and knew he was looking for snakes. He already had one ball python (who he told us wanted to make the journey to get her new siblings, but she was getting ready to shed. that's a good owner!), and he was in the process of building a huge enclosure for his 'kids'. The ball he already had is currently living in a cage that is so well full of hiding places that he says he actually has to take everything out of the tank to find her. She also gets to go out w/ Manny and his girlfriend for shopping trips and errands. He obviously had read a lot about balls and really understood what it took to be a good owner.
So our girls left us yesterday. We offered pillow cases for them to travel in, but Manny's girlfriend insisted on holding them so they'd be more secure. I had to hide in the back room because I started crying. I ran out to see them one last time and Manny offered to give us his phone number so we could check on them. We declined. As they left, Manny's girlfriend told me that Melody and Harmony (she used their names!) would love their new home. And I think she's right.
We failed those snakes. And I feel horrible. Just writing about it now I'm crying. And the newspaper ad is running until Tuesday so the calls keep coming in. I finally changed the answering machine and stopped answering the phone. So about twice an hour I hear from the machine: "Hi. If you're calling about the ad, the snakes have already found a new home. Thank you for calling." Insult to injury. I must have heard that about 20 times since yesterday morning and every time I do I feel horrible. The empty space in the front room where they used to be. The nightmare I had last night even though I know they went to a better home. Its such a good thing that we don't have Manny's phone number because we'd have them back already and that's not what's best.
I don't know what else to say. I'll never feel good about how it turned out. Never.
This is Melody. She's such a pretty girl and calm. A few years back she got into it with her 'food' and we ended up paying for surgery to fix a cut she had on her head. She never got nervous with us and never once rolled in a ball to protect herself. She trusted us I think. She seemed to love hanging out with us on the couch. She would stay still through a whole movie.
This is Harmony. We had her from a little tiny baby. She's kind of blue here because she's getting ready to shed. Don't you love her little ET guys on her markings? She's fiesty and athletic. She escaped more than once. My little houdini.
I'm Amanda. I'm an engineer in an industry full of men, a professional wedding and family portrait photographer, a firefighter's wife, a traveler, and a dogMa.