Pets come in all shapes and sizes. I know this as evidenced at the many “Blessing of the Animal” services I have participated in with my family. Our family has brought some of the more “unusual” pets. There was the time in Minnesota where we brought our pet lizard, Zippity Doo Dah. He was a companion during our family’s migration from Minnesota to California. I am certain he enjoyed every hotel we stayed at along our way. When we moved to Sacramento, Zippity Doo Dah found a new home with one of the movers, whose son was overjoyed to receive him. In Orinda, one year we brought our Madagascar Tortoise, Snickers and he was featured in the local news, our own little celebrity! While our family was worshipping at St. John’s in Oakland, we brought two dwarf hamsters in boxes right from the pet store, the kids stopped there on the way to church. By the time we were sharing the peace, they both ate their way out of their boxes and we were struggling to keep them corralled.
Pets are so wonderful, especially those pets you were not planning on having. They are sort of like a gift from God! When we lived in Orinda, we had an owl that moved into our house – making an opening near the roof of our house. We did not want the owl to leave but needed to secure the house, so we put an owl house in the same vicinity. The owl moved into it and had its own spacious home. We lived in harmony with the owl for many years.
Here in Sacramento, I am happy to report that we have a pet rat. He lives outdoors (I hope!) but visits quite regularly. About 9pm, he makes a daring high-wire journey across our “party lights” from one corner of our house to another. When he reaches the end, he disappears into the gutter, which I consider a blessing. I want to believe he does not live inside the house and so I do.
The first time we met, we took each other by surprise. I looked up startled to see him scurrying across the wire that was several feet above the table where we were having dinner. He showed his surprise when he stopped midway through in his tracks, looked around for a few seconds and then continued a little faster than before. I was tickled when a few nights later, we saw him again. And since then, a few more times. I named him Templeton, after the rat in Charlotte’s Web. It is funny though; I don’t imagine him to be crusty like the character Templeton. Instead, I imagine him sweet. He is very cute, well groomed, and makes for the best neighbor (quiet and minds his own business). The last time we saw him, he was just about to launch out on the wire, when instead he stopped to survey the area. I snapped a photo. He twitched his head around a little and then, as usual, took to the wire and made it safely across. It made me wonder if somehow things down below had changed in some way to warn him that he might not be safe. I will never know.
I share this about Templeton because it is all a bit of a miracle. You see, I am incredibly afraid of rats – but for some reason – I am not afraid of Templeton, in fact, I really, really like him being part of my world. Maybe it is his daring, maybe it is his low maintenance, I don’t know why, but I love this little guy and that makes me happy!