PDD – Pet Distraction Disorder

One of the things I struggled with was wanting to see my son happy….duh…and as a result, I “spoiled” him….shoot me…. I would have done anything to make him feel better for one minute. Any minor interest became a pursuit. Any hint of enthusiasm resulted in buying “something.” Many of these “somethings” were pets.

Let’s see…..there was Pete the fish; Burrough, the Russian hamster thing; Flipper, a squirrelish rodent; Ham and Cheese and Turn Around,  the hamsters… (Turn Around earned his name because he was a biter and we just “turned around” and returned him.) There was Arthur, the tortoise who was absurdly high maintenance and ruled our lives, and Dude, the bunny, who just ate, sat and pooped. There was Spitzer, the snake, who grew to be at least 6 feet long and was so strong he could open his cage. I became convinced that he would either constrict my son out of love or eat Shirley, the cat (who was the portal of evil…….she was also a biter and just mean!).

We had lizards who, after they died, had a proper burial at which we said the Pledge of Allegiance.  I didn’t realize that my son and his friend were digging them up everyday to see if they had gone to heaven.


When my son won 100 bucks on a scratch ticket…..another one of my indulgences…..and announced he could afford a ferret,  I knew it was time to cut to the chase and get a dog!  The only requirements I demanded were, small and non-shedding. So of course my husband and son came home with a Golden Retriever, the biggest shedding dog they could find. Digger, when fully grown, was nothing short of having a big furry couch following me around.

As time-consuming as they were, our pets created a world where we focused on who needed to be fed and who got loose….we actually lost the tortoise once…almost an impossibility. Have you ever seen a tortoise move?

But, when we wanted school to go away or were wishing for alternatives or hoping things with friends got better…..there were our pain-in-the-ass pets……a safe place to communicate and divert ourselves from everything else.

I can still hear my son’s voice after a long day,  free of everything,  “Hey Digger!”

A split second change to happiness.