Thursday, April 28, 2005

The Benefits (?) of Pets

Somewhere I have read that pets are good for you. I've always wondered about that. We have two pets. Well, to be precise, my husband and son have two pets and I don't really remember being seriously consulted about welcoming them into our family. However, as pets go, these two are just about perfect. They can easily keep themselves entertained for days or weeks at a time and seem pretty happy to forage for themselves in the backyard. All we really need to provide are some supplemental nutrition, shelter, and sturdy walls to keep them in.

You may be wondering what sort of wonderful pets we have. These great beasts are California Desert Tortoises. They do have a few drawbacks in that we have to be careful about what we plant in their area and we cannot take them out of state should we move. Given that they sleep for half the year, these are small inconveniences. One of our tortoises is a rather surly male who is 25+ years old. The other is six years old. We are almost certain that the younger tortoise is a female. We won't know for sure for a few more years, but the male is quite interested in the younger tortoise so we think he has spotted a potential girlfriend.

This morning, I was awakened by rainfall on my window. This is fairly unusual since it doesn't rain all that often in Southern California. Well, that is true most years. This year the jet stream seems to have us confused with Seattle so we have had far more rainy days and nights than usual. As I tried to go back to sleep, I remembered that our younger tortoise did not yet have a good shelter. Then I remembered that the last time I checked on her she was hanging out near the drain that prevents our side yard from becoming a pool. My brain started conjuring all the dreadful scenarios that could occur should that drain become blocked.

All this explains why I was outside at 4:30 a.m. under a raincoat that no longer keeps me dry slogging through the side yard with a flashlight to find a tortoise. The drain was not clogged, but the tortoise looked pretty miserable. I brought her in, dried her off, and found a box in which she could stay until her side yard dries out. It's hard to tell, but I think she was happy with the change.

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