Ever seen a flying gerbil? Me neither. Except for that mouse I rescued from my cat’s mouth when I was five. Shortly upon rescuing it bit me and the pain made me send it flying, which action was interpreted as permission to gobble by the cat. So technically that was a flying mouse. Today our resident recently rescued gerbil decided to sink her little chomping devices into my right thumb. So lifting her high up in the air and sending her flying happened before rational thinking was reestablished.
“What was that, Mom?” Tony’s curiosity was genuine. He’s never seen a flying gerbil before.
Slight chance too if you own a meek one. Not this one. Her name River Sunlight. The second was Sasha’s suggestion and yes, it sounds new age but as we’re dedicated river rats we figured there’s nothing wrong with that. After hanging onto my thumb for dear life River flew across the living room and landed to a sweet quarter of an hour of gerbil freedom.
I felt bad and forgave her, pain and all because I have a long history of rescuing strays animals and birds and loving them all. It’s not pet-owning per se because these animals were their own masters, you see.
I once sheltered a fallen baby bird until she was old enough to learn to fly, which she did but as much as I hoped she’ll fly back to her world, she most likely did not make it past the resident cat with those wobbly flying skills. I had a dwarf rooster that died in my arms in my parents’ kitchen and was buried next to my hamster and later on my bunny rabbit who grew to be of gargantuan size and became the undisputed owner of my parents’ yard. Maybe that’s why the hedgehog moved on.
Now that you’re almost tempted to say you have an idea of the extent of our critter madness, I’d say don’t run ahead of yourself or you’ll never find out that I had a snail hatching party set up in my room when I was in elementary school. You’d never try escargots if you see how cute they start out in life.
But here’s the rest of the story, present day that is. Recently Sasha was gifted a fox fur by a close friend who knows about his love for wildlife. Fur, wildlife love, a bit of a strange and unorthodox mix, you’d say, but it’s there, the love for all living things. The fur is the closest he’ll come to wild animals for now and is just bridging the worlds. For now. He takes the fox to the beach and people stare. Don’t judge before you ask, I’d say. He sleeps with it and I can’t even frown because I was once allowing my cat to bring her whole litter of newborn kittens in my bed. They were cute and so tiny, what else can I say.
And there’s a growing list of critters we’d like and it goes like this:
– dog (we all agree it would be nice but I have the last word for now and I’m saying not just yet)
– cat (Tony’s request, pending Sasha’s dismissal of his severe cat-triggered asthma)
– gecko (this one eats live crickets and I cannot bend my head around setting the scene for murdering those beloved summer serenaders)
– snake (this particular one only eats dead animals, Sasha said. No, he was not being sarcastic about our flying gerbil nor was he hinting that I would be in charge of providing the meals).
– baby crocodile (this, I swear, I never said yes to, but somehow Sasha believes it’s a done deal)
– hedgehog (yes, that’s me. If I find a rescued one that needs a home you’ll hear about it).
So River has nothing to fear. She’s in good company. And while she’s here she’s teaching us about boundaries. There ain’t no crossing or else. And no pointing fingers (yeah, puns and all intended). Ever seen a flying gerbil? If not, look for one, you’re bound to learn something good.