What pets do you guys have?
We have two little furry munchkins, and one is always thinking of ways of snacking on the other one. And no, he's not a cat.
One year ago on February 14th, for our first Valentine's Day as newlyweds, we headed off to the local Humane Shelter to play with some puppies, and fell in love (who didn't see that one coming, eh?).
The next day, we brought home our then 10-month old furry son.
The shelter told us that he was an Australian Cattle Dog.
We're pretty positive that they were completely wrong.
After much research and almost a year of training, loving, disciplining, laughing, cuddling, and enjoying each other's company, we've come to believe that he is a Rat Terrier. And yes, his goal in life is to eat his older brother (not very nice, huh? but I suppose that's siblings for ya).
Of course, we will never know if our best guess is correct, because he didn't come with any sort of pedigree or papers.
Not that it matters much to us, anyways.
He is the comedian of our family, always running around and constantly making us laugh. Whether it's chasing his tail, getting excited when the doorbell rings (or even the phone), attempting to consume anything and everything (yes, he has honestly eaten Tom's medical school homework - add that to the long list of things he's eaten: carpet padding, tile grout, drywall, sawdust, clothing, socks...), we love him to death, and now could never imagine our lives without him.
Did we mention that he has ups? Seriously, people, he does.
Funny story: Tom was standing in the kitchen and eating some chip from a bag, and as his hand was moving to his mouth to pop another chip in, Barley jumped straight up in the air - from a standstill, mind you - and ate the chip right out of Tom's hand. Tom had no idea what in the word had happened - all he knew was that one minute he had a chip in his hand, and the next he didn't.
And Barley was crunching something.
He's our eldest (albeit smallest), "son". He is a Bushy Tailed Jird.
He's a travelin' man. Currently he is about 4 years old, but he's managed to travel far and wide during his short little life so far. He is from an exotic pet store in Melbourne, Florida, and drove halfway across the country with me to college in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Later that year, he went home with my friend Lisa to Texas, where she so kindly looked after him for a bit. After graduation, he traveled with us as we moved to Omaha, Nebraska, where we currently still reside. Yup, Mel has definitely traveled far and wide, and I bet he's been more places than even some people have.
He's really small, and fast as lightning! When my mother first described him, she described him as a "gerbil on crack". He's nocturnal, like hamsters, so he sleeps during the day and goes crazy at night. When we wake him up in the middle of the day, he's so sleepy he just lays in our hands. But after a couple minutes he'll wake up and start running around again.
His fur is exactly like a Chinchilla's - super soft, and he takes sand baths just like a Chinchilla, too - he rolls around in the sand on his back and flips around (check out the video at the end of the post to see it). He has tiny little nails on the ends of his hands and feet, supposedly so he can climb rocks and boulders in the desert. But he likes to use his nails to climb us! He'll climb up my shirt and run around my shoulders, climb on top of my head and descend down my back. Sometimes I'll walk around the house with Mel perched atop my shoulders, and I end up feeling like some kind of weird pirate.
He's very smart, too. At night he hates when we turn on the light. I'm sure you're thinking "just how do you know that?" His cage is sitting right under a light switch, and one night we were in his room and we turned on the light. Apparently he didn't want the light on, because he smooshed himself against the glass directly below the light switch and started jumping up and down trying to reach it! It was hilarious!
Oh, did I mention he can jump really really high? He can jump so high he hits the top of the cage (and he has his own 20 gallon tank, it's quite big and tall). So, we deduced that he is quite smart, indeed - for a small little rodent, that is.
He doesn't smell, and doesn't bite. Except one time in college, a tornado siren went off during a bad storm and we had to find a storm shelter, which, unfortunately, was quite a ways away across campus. Tom scooped up Mel from his cage (to "save" him), stuffed him into his sweatshirt pocket, and we took off running through the wind and blowing rain to get inside the tornado shelter. In the middle of the running, wind, sirens and rain, Mel got scared and bit Tom. Which, under the circumstances, was perfectly understandable. He has never bitten anyone before or since.
Did I mention that he takes sand baths? Check out the action right here (or here on youtube):
I hope you enjoyed reading about our furry little sons! They like to enjoy the spotlight every now and then, too...
Want me to answer more questions? Feel free to ask in the comments!
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