We used to have a dog. Our dear sweet mutt Schooner-dog cruised with us to Cuba and back and guarded the boat loyal and true. But he left this world in August last year. And after we swore we'd be a pet-free boat.
But kids need animal companions. I truly believe there is something magical that happens when a child interacts with an animal. Any animal. But pets on boats are tricky. Consider this:
* Cats are out because I am insanely allergic.
* Fish. Forget it. Can you imagine the goldfish bowl sloshing around while we're under sail?!
* Another dog... no. Too much commitment. We want to leave to cruise again in 2 years and we don't want to cruise with a dog again. So keeping one while we're tied to the dock would be fun, until we break the news to the dog and the kiddo that they don't ever get to see each other again. No thank you.
* Reptiles. They draw too many amps. That's right, the heat lamps required for the cold blooded companions would be a major power suck. We'd have to turn off the lizard light every time we used the microwave or blender.
* Birds. Well, they live too long. It's a big commitment. Parrots can live to 90 years, often surviving their owners. And we're not sure we want to face the logistics of cruising overseas with a parrot on board. Paperwork, vaccinations, parrot sitters while we travel inland. Forget it!
* Rodents. Ah-ha, now we're talking! Our dirty little secret is that we caved in and freecycled for a guinea pig in December. I never blogged about it because, frankly, he's boring and not terribly photogenic. BUT, no heat lamps, no allergies, low maintenance, and they only live 2-3 years! His name is Mookie and he only shows his face when he hears me cutting up cantaloupe. Zach is really good about feeding him and I get the glamorous job of cage cleaning.
The only thing easier than a guinea pig is this...
Yup. Z caught and brought home his very own caterpillar. He is over the moon about this little guy and loves all two inches of him with all his heart. He named him Cheeky, and my only worry is that Z will literally love him to death. Cheeky has had a ride on the remote control truck, moved in with the gnomes, been stuffed inside a lantern, got abandoned in the nature table, sailed on the toy pirate ship, had tea with the Queen, met the guinea pig face to face, and was forced to pose for a portrait session.
But hopefully, if he's not too traumatized, he'll go in to his cocoon, make some magic, emerge as a whole new pet, and fly away. It doesn't get much easier than that.
(these beautiful butterfly life cycle pieces are from the fabulous MamaRoots! and the bug box is from BirchLeaf Designs)
P.S. As of tonight our little Cheeky is now in his cocoon. So we hold our breath for 3 weeks.
Staring at him intently Z said, "I think he's dreaming of all the fun times he had with me."