Asian Girl Problem #81: Domestic Pets of My Youth

I wouldn’t be surprised if my mother was singlehandedly perpetrating the stereotype that Asian people hate pets. She thinks they’re dirty, smelly, disease-carrying, needy, ultimately vicious and unpredictable creatures that would attack her, if unchained. Move over, Cruella Deville. If she goes out to a park, she’ll take a walking stick to hit dogs that get too close. If presented with a dish of dog, she’d probably eat some just out of spite.

You know what they say about people who don’t like animals…All I’m gonna say is my dad’s side of the family and I love them fiercely. Dogs especially for me. And although my mother never backed down no matter how hard we bargained, she allowed me to have a few other condolence pets throughout the years:

Tropical fish
We started out strong, filling the tank with colored pebbles and fake fantasy scenery. Buying beautiful tropical fish, which required very specific temperature and pH environments. Every day after school, I’d feed and pet them with my finger. None of them (names forgotten) lasted more than a couple weeks, and my parents quickly learned to replace them with dollar goldfish, while I learned that fish could not replace dogs by any stretch of the imagination.

My dad loves rescuing animals from the street. Here’s a gutter cat we found in China.

The Mouse
Dad brought one of his science lab mice home one night, complete with his cage, water bottle and food pellets. My mother wouldn’t let us keep it (name forgotten) inside—only in our dank basement, where I had to go to feed it every day. After a week of feeding it fancy human food and spoiling it into a progressively pickier mouse diva who wouldn’t eat anything lesser than ham, I forgot about it.

Geese Eggs
Once, my dad stole some geese eggs from a nest near a lake. He’s that kind of guy. Brought them home and put them in a makeshift incubator made from a picnic cooler, hot water bottles and heat lamp, hoping to teach me about life. But of course, it was another lesson in death, as they never hatched. The vision of furious geese parents trying to attack him was the greatest takeaway from that event.

I took care of family friends’ chickadees in high school, and concluded that birds suck.

Back when they had a large yard, my parents bought two hens from a local farm, mostly to reap their eggs. I didn’t grow very attached because I left for college soon after, but I know both were killed and made into soup (and not very good ones, I heard) once they were past their prime.

Paternal grandma and her obsession. Both much older now, but still kickin’.

One day, I will have a pet that doesn’t die within two weeks or on the stovetop.


One thought on “Asian Girl Problem #81: Domestic Pets of My Youth

  1. ahahahaha. Oh man. My sister’s best friend growing up (coincidentally Chinese-American) had a pet lobster and that was also a sad story.. Her high school best friend (Filipino)’s dad cooked their koi!! Asian petz.

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