Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Mis-Snakes, Scales & Puppy-Dog Fails

Photo Credit:  Stephanie Karfelt

Once Zeus had a pet snake named Houdini. At least that was the name he eventually earned, being as he escaped and roamed the house at will. In an effort to keep the snake confined, Zeus duct taped the lid on Houdini’s cage. Returning home afterwards, Zeus discovered his snake wrapped in duct tape and dangling dejectedly from the roof of his cage. Since I tend to brake for butterflies, Zeus considers me an animal lover. So he brought me his duct taped snake, as though I’d know what to do about it. Though the man is a big, tough giant and all, I could tell he was attached to this two foot reptile and resisted the urge to put it in an airtight bag and toss it into the trash while I could. I called the vet. The Vet laughed really hard, and repeated the story several times to coworkers. I kept the phone tight against my ear, so Zeus wouldn’t hear them laughing. It isn’t a good idea to laugh at a giant over his pet snake. And that is how I ended up wedged in a tiny bathroom with a giant, soaking a duct taped snake in a sink full of warm water. As the Vet predicted, Houdini was more than a little ill-tempered about having duct tape peeled off his body. He lost quite a few scales in the process, but Zeus kept a firm grip on his head as I worked. Perhaps you’re apathetic about Houdini’s fate, or perhaps you’ll be happy to know he lived – though he was forevermore a few scales short.

People are odd about their pets, aren’t they?  I’d like to think it bodes well for our species that we can love even the sorriest, most unlovable creatures so fiercely. Surely you know someone who has a cat or dog that is anything but worthy – but that is pampered and loved inexplicably. My BFF had a cat once, I forget its name. Let’s call it Humper, because that is what that cat did. It specifically liked to have at it with anything that belonged to BFF. Her hats, slippers, pillow, etc. It was a big, fat, white thing that pretty much shed and made love to BFF’s belongings. Oh, it slept in her dresser drawer and ate on her kitchen table too. When Humper went to the great dresser drawer in the sky, he was in the process of jumping off the kitchen table after eating. He ate – alive – and landed – well, dead. BFF told me about this over the phone. Though I clamped my hand over my mouth as fast as I could, she heard the inappropriate laugh that escaped. Let me just take this opportunity to apologize to my BFF again for my demented sense of humor. (Normally she appreciates it, but everyone has their limits.)  It wasn’t funny that the cat died – it was just the visual that got to me.
Clyde T. Brown is an East Texas cowboy, chaws tobacco, drives enormous gas guzzling vehicles, and in all the time that I’ve known him I have understood about 10% of anything he said due to the plug in his mouth and his accent. Clyde also has a pile of teeny dogs that look like mops. Am not sure how many there are, they move a lot and are hard to count. When Clyde goes anywhere, he takes the horde with him. I ran into him in a parking lot once, and he put an arm out the window to gesture towards something. I gasped in horror. It looked as though he’d almost lost the appendage to a shark attack. Since there are hardly any sharks in Texas, I asked what happened. Couldn’t really understand much of the answer, but apparently the horde had turned on him when he was feeding them. For me that is a deal breaker, but I’ve never had a pet horde.
Photo Credit: Stephanie Karfelt

Unless you count the butterflies, (but they were more of a scientific study to my way of thinking) wherever I’ve lived in North America I raised Monarch Butterflies. Thousands of them. It started as a Kindergarten project, and eventually morphed into a migration tagging project through The University of Kansas ( ). I won’t give you the dissertation on what can be learned studying the insects, but I will tell you that my family cringes when they see milkweed, and my daughter has never recovered from the summer of exploding chrysalis’s. A few gross of butterflies can endear you to your neighbors, they tend to hang around once you release them – so there were usually butterflies around our house. But a few gross of caterpillars can have quite the opposite effect, especially if your neighbors stop by during litter box cleaning hours.
Photo Credit:  Stephanie Karfelt

Have you or someone you know ever loved an unlovable pet?  Your Mother’s Doberman that once ate an entire Thanksgiving turkey?  The Rat-Terrier that once ate your Easter basket?  A pet mouse that escaped and ate a curtain?  How about those guppies that teach young children that some parents do eat their young?  What is the best or worst pet story you have?  The Epic Slinky Dog giveaway continues here at The Glitter Globe. Follow my blog and leave me an epic pet story for a chance to win one. Remember to check back to see if you’ve won!

 Slinky fainted when confronted by a puppy w/horde potential

Photo Credit: Phil Scot


  1. I had a pet crow when I was a kid. His name was OB (short for Old Black - a bit racist sounding, looking back on it.)
    He roosted on our back porch, and would fly all over the neighborhood, pecking small children on the head and plucking the blooms off Mrs. Hayes' prize irises.
    He chuckled, said AHHHH sympathetically, and said hello.
    He attacked our German Shepherd in order to eat her dog food. He also would sneak under mesh lawn chairs and peck my grandfather behind - just for fun.
    When I would ride my bike, he would perch on my head and enjoy the trip.
    One day he found a mate and flew away. About a year later I saw a crow high up in a tree by my house. He looked down and said "hello" and then flew off. That was the last time I ever saw him.

  2. Oh yeah - here's my blog


  3. Kathleen's story is far more interesting than any I have.

    Growing up, we had a neurotic cat. She didn't start out that way. In fact, she was loving, caring, cuddly, and adorable.
    And then we babysat my cousin's dog while they were out of town.

    Phoebe (the cat) was never the same. We'd had dogs of our own, but as Sadie (the dog) hadn't been around any cats, it was hard to explain to her that chasing Phoebe (and only Phoebe, not Alley our other cat) was the wrong thing to do.

    After that fateful week, Phoebe was...neurotic. She heard things, hallucinated, jumped at phantom sounds or minimal movements. A ridiculous amount of weight was gained, as she spent most of her time hiding in the room where the food was.

    To approach Phoebe, you had to move slowly, barely breathing, and always holding eye contact. She'd probably still run.

    My favorite time was when a friend of mine was sitting in a chair and Phoebe perched on the back of it - something she never did. So what did my friend do when gifted with the chance to pet the cat?
    She jumped up and yelled "BOO!"

    Phoebe was so startled, she held still for a full two seconds, eyes wide and - get this - mouth open in shock before making her run for it.

  4. Kathleen - "Let Old Black and Snow White be stricken from the records! So it is said, so it is done." That's my play on Charlton Heston's Ten Commandments PC quote.
    OB sounds marvelous. Wouldn't it freak you out if he showed up again someday?
    I think you need a Slinky Dog in loving memory of your pet crow. Private Message me your address. (
    Though I may give out more Slinkys for other excellent stories.

  5. Kelsey Plain & Simple - Sometimes I think paranormal neurosis is just Latin for cat.
    I want to hear more Phoebe stories. A cat blog will pop up sooner or later. I am surprised your friend got away in one piece after shouting BOO at poor Phoebe. Those two seconds while Phoebe stood stock still? She was likely planning how to take your friend down. Probably ran off to go sharpen her nails.

  6. I hope I am doing this correctly: here's the blog entry about Peter Goat.
    I have only had one pet since boyhood, my miniature Nubian wether goat, Peter, or Peter Goat as we all called him. He followed me everywhere I walked on the ranch and rode all over the place in my pickup, standing on the seat beside me. Yes, he made a mess of the seat, but it was a work truck and he was my friend, so no matter.
    Stephanie, yes, Peter Goat made all the seat cover holes bigger. He was a real character. Goats are actually finicky eaters, seat covers and tin can labels notwithstanding. My wife's flowers suffered the most, but I'd best not get into that.
    I have many fond memories of Peter Goat, but one of the funniest occurred while visiting with a neighbor, pickup to pickup. Peter had a habit of squeezing in behind me and sticking his head out the window, to be part of the conversation so to speak. Anyway, I had been talking to my neighbor for a few minutes when all of a sudden, he said, “Hell, that’s a damn goat. I thought it was a dog.” We laughed about that for years and the recollection still brings a warm feeling to me.

  7. Yep, Jerry, you did it right! And that story made me laugh out loud really long. I could see your neighbor saying that! When you first posted on FB, I thought it was a childhood pet. Just makes it better that it wasn't. Private message me an address and I'll send you a Slinky Dog! Don't let the goat eat him, please. ;)

  8. I have a friend who frequently (as in EVERY time I see him) lovingly tells of amazing times he has had with his giant african snail. He loves to tell anyone who will listen lots of snail trivia, and mostly enthuses about how it can mate with itself :/ haha xxx

  9. Suzy - Probably I should be ashamed to admit I googled "Giant African Snail". Have you seen it up close and personal? That is amazingly gross! There's a picture of one almost as long as a woman's foot! Ha! Now where do you get one? Nobody wants me to get their name in the family gift exchange this Christmas. I finally know what they definitely don't have.
    Private message me your address Suzy, and I'll send you an Epic Slinky Dog. He's not nearly as slimey as a snail, and way cuter.

  10. Fluffy' s humping ritual had long been stricken from my memory. I did like that cat though. As is my not so passive aggressive nature, Fluffy aided me in driving my father crazy when I would walk out the door to school covered in white Persian cat fur. Little did he know I had a lint brush in my school bag. It was payback for making me clean out his pigeon coop in the back yard. Pigeons are so disgusting!

    You already know Rocket's weird snake, mole, chipmunk, mouse, squirrel killing tales (and a few birds too). Plus the gluing his mouth shut and getting sprayed by a skunk while inside the house. I think he met his match when he attacked two coyotes at one time and lived to tell about it.

    Now for Roxie, in the last two weeks she has chewed the zipper on my favorite purse, chewed the lamp cord to pieces and destroyed the cord on the CO detector (which reminds me I have to pick the lamp up from the hardware store). Don't suggest the bitter spray as a deterrent. I've already tried it on the kitchen cabinets (they needed replaced anyway). She thinks it tastes good. She also thinks cat, rabbit and deer poop are delicacies. The puppy chewing phase ends when?

  11. Mel - Fluffy for a white persian? Don't you feel Humper is a more memorable name? I've never owned a Jack Russell, but I'm pretty sure they outgrown the puppy chewing stuff after about 15 years.

  12. We had a neurotic parakeet. The thing absolutely would not leave it's cage (unless forced) and it'd pull out feathers till it bled.
    Previous owners had two teens - I think that might be what the problem was.