Pets are proof that opposites attract

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Warning: This article may cause extreme shock to those who read it. People with serious heart conditions and or blood pressure problems should not read it. Healthy people should sit down before proceeding.

When I was younger, I was madly in love with Ralph. He was a great friend and I could always count on him to be around. That gosh-darn Ralph. He had this really shaggy hair that I would play in for hours. Sometimes, depending on how he felt, he would let me braid it and put my barrettes on the ends. Then he would prance around for hours with pink butterflies, blue flowers and yellow bows in his hair.

Oh and, in case you are starting to think Ralph was a bit strange, he was my dog.

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Everyday with Ralph was great, until he ran away when I was about 7 or 8 years old.

A few years later, my godfather showed up on my doorstep with what he called a puppy, although it was half the size of me. It was young rottweiler named King.

My godfather sat in the living room as he watched my younger cousin and me play with King. Then he got ready to leave, but not before telling me that King was my new companion.

My cousin and I took King to the basement and played with him for a while, until he got a little crazy. King started to jump on us and growled with a strange look in his eye. He wouldn’t listen to me as I fearfully yelled doggy commands to him.

It was at that moment, after we ran upstairs and bolted the basement door behind us, I officially gave my new puppy away to my dad.

After leaving home and moving to Auburn, I didn’t really miss King barking in the middle of the night. After all, I lived in a dorm. But still, there was an empty space in my heart and I yearned for a pet.

So, I went to Wal-Mart and bought Blue, a beta fish.

After about a year, Blue died and I purchased Blue 2, or B2, another beta. I had B2 for about a year, up until my senior year in college when he died (No, I am not a fish killer. Some pets just live longer than others).

Anyway, when I moved to Demopolis, I was even lonelier.

I had no friends and no pet. So I took a trip to Huntsville and -brace yourself- I bought a ball python.

Why did I buy a snake? They are low maintenance, don’t make noise, don’t need to go out for walks, eat once a week or two and live longer than a year.

I named it, Naomi, even though it could’ve been a boy.

Naomi and I were great friends. We would watch movies and fall asleep on the couch together. It would keep me company on long drives and it was always there when I got home from work.

Unfortunately, when I went home to take care of my parents, Naomi fell victim to dehydration and starvation. In the time before I went home, I failed to get someone to watch my best friend, even though I don’t think there were many people who would’ve done it.

I cried and beat myself for being a horrible pet guardian for about a week.

But, not wanting to give up. I am trying again. I purchased a baby Apricot Pueblan Milk snake a week ago. It’s small, but beautiful, with red, black and orange stripes. It’s a quick little bugger. Almost escaped in my friend’s apartment when I tried to let her hold it. When he jumped out of her hand and onto her counter, I thought I had lost my new pet after only a few hours. We caught him though, and now he’s home. Only thing is, I don’t know what to name him. I know it’s a boy and I know he’s quick. Any suggestions?

This past weekend I went to Petco and spent too much money on snake vitamins, water conditioners, tank cleaners and anything else you can think of. I am determined not to let (insert name here) die.

My uncle said he doesn’t think of me as a “snake kind of person.” What? Just because I’m cute and cuddly, am I obligated to have just kittens and rabbits as pets? I love my smooth, slithery and sublime soul mates. After all, people say that opposites attract.