The first pets my parents ever got me were some fish.
I want to say they were goldfish, but I’m not absolutely certain on that point. I also want to say there were six of them, but don’t quote me on that either.
I do vividly remember the aquarium we had them in. It had this blueish tint and was filled with a bunch of artificial corals, rocks, and a castle and drawbridge (I think I must have been going through a phase of being obsessed with knights).
I used to spend hours staring at them. Probably not actual hours, but a whole lot of my youngster life was spent talking to these fish. I would recount what happened in kindergarten, and all about the time Tommy Griffiths deliberately knocked a chocolate ice cream out of my hand.
I can’t actually tell you how long they were with us – it feels like a couple of years, but in hindsight, it was probably only a couple of months. I remember having a cat when I started school, and I also had some of tortoises and a couple of hamsters in between too.
Back to the fish though.
I believe my parents had this idea of slowly graduating me to a larger animal (namely a cat or dog). I remember demanding we adopt a cat since I was around 3, so the fish probably seemed like a good test for my level of interest.
Naturally, being the person that I am, I was obsessed.
I rushed over to see how the fish were doing whenever we’d get home.
I talked to them all the time.
I came up with all sorts of stories, involving myself and the fish going on underwater adventures.
They all had names of course.
There was Binx – who was the leader of our gang.
There was Todd – no idea why he was called Todd, but since he was a scientist-type character, I probably needed a serious-sounding name.
There was Dash – who was always getting into trouble.
There was one called Rudolf (which makes me think I was probably given them for Christmas?), and another called Mo – and I do believe there was another one I can’t quite remember.
We were the best of pals, even though I never actually touched any of them.
However, my adoration must have shown my parents I was quite capable and ready to take on the responsibility, not to mention enthusiastic about animals (when I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, the answer was “a vet” for quite a long time).
Which is how a couple of delightful turtles came into my life.