Is there such a thing as too many pets?
The short answer is yes, for those of you that have ever seen an animal hoarding situation, there definitely is such a thing as too many pets. But to use the term loosely, for those of us who are animal lovers, and enjoy caring for, and spoiling, our pets- the more humorous answer is no. Too many pets is definitely not a thing.
That mentality is how I ended up sharing my home with reptiles, fish, crustaceans, a cat, and a dog. It's a rather eclectic bunch, I'll be the first to admit, but they all get along well and are very much spoiled.
It all started with a tiny leopard gecko.
Meena was the size of a small salamander and full of spunk. Babies aren't keen on being handled, so after a lot of forced love and her favorite bugs, I had turned my jumpy little hatchling into a lovable gecko.
Meena started out as Benjamin, as for the first year of her life I thought she was a boy. Oh, the joys of being a beginner to the reptile world.
One day, about about months after bringing Meena home, I was at the pet store for my weekly bug run, and I noticed a tiny leopard gecko with some toes that were about ready to fall off. Knowing already that I had done far more research than any of the high school students working part time at that particular store, I inquired what was going on with the little gecko.
"Oh, uh... they come to us like that sometimes. It's just normal for this species of gecko."
When leopard geckos don't have proper humidity for shedding, they miss some of the skin on their toes. When they don't get the skin off, it constricts their toes and they fall off. Losing toes doesn't particularly affect the quality of life, unless it becomes infected.
Either way, an extra tank and a gecko later, I was headed home. Within an hour of being settled in her new home, with some warm water and a cotton ball, Marley had all her toes intact.
An extensive introduction period has allowed me to house them together, and they spend their days cuddling. Two geckos definitely doesn't constitute "too many pets."
My bearded dragon, Potato, was the next rescue. I got news that someone had dropped their "very aggressive" dragon off at the local pet store in a cardboard box. Not having room for her, the girl working at the store asked if I had room for her.
I only had two geckos, and three wasn't going to be "too many," so sure! I had plenty of room for another.
The dragon I picked up was skinny and the farthest from aggressive I have ever seen in a bearded dragon. She was definitely afraid, but she was a sweetheart. It took months to get her to feel calm and safe being handled but now she begs for attention and loves to snuggle and sleep in her hammock.
Since bringing my first reptile home I have temporarily cared for two other bearded dragons and a rescue leopard gecko. One dragon was re-homed and the other two had to be put down due to extensive medical issues.
Never once have I thought, this is too many pets. Especially when caring for rescue animals, there is never too many pets, only too few hours in the day!
For a brief period of time I had a rat, Maggie, who was missing half her tail due to a fight with another rat. She was a very kind, sweet girl, and thought to have PTSD from being bullied. I was able to find her a home with experienced rat owners who were able to safely introduce her to other rats so she could socialize and play.
Growing up we had dogs and cats, and I dreamed of the day when I could have one of my very own. Being fairly small in stature myself, I always loved Chihuahuas. On a particularly slow day at work, I found myself browsing PetFinder. I typed in my zip code and my dream dog breed, and started scrolling. The first little pooch I clicked on had a reddish tan coat and the biggest ears I'd ever seen.
After I clicked on his profile, I saw that his name was Sammy. We had the same name. It was fate.
Sammy's most notable characteristic is that he's quiet as a church mouse. People are constantly asking how I trained my small dog not to bark. Pure luck, that's how! He's afraid of a lot of things, and house training is better some days than others, but he knows how to high five and never leaves my side.
Sammy came from a neglect and abuse situation, and along with the breed specific quirks and lack of training- it's been a long process that has been worth every second.
I felt bad that Sammy was alone while I worked during the day. I've always had a soft spot for felines and used to volunteer in the cat wing at my local shelter. On Saturdays, my boyfriend and I would quite often find ourselves "window shopping" for the perfect cat.
Weekend after weekend we went home empty-handed. Until one Saturday we decided spur-of-the-moment to stop in and visit. Upon walking in, a friend who works at the shelter told us to check out the new cat in the first room.
Up on the top shelf there was a gorgeous Siamese curled into a little cat loaf. As soon as he looked at us with his bright blue eyes- we were hooked and just like that, Fitzgerald had a forever home. He's very talkative and opinionated and loves being the center of attention. Now we were at three reptiles, a cat, and a dog- still not "too many pets"!
There are also two quarter-sized hermit crabs, Phoenix and Magee, that share my home. They were an impulse vacation souvenir from Ocean City, MD and I figured that they might not live very long but they are doing exceptionally well, even despite the occasional drop-in visits from a curious cat.
I don't actively seek out all these pets, I swear. But if they're in dire need of homes, I will probably find room for them somewhere. Except not on the bed; there's no more room on the bed.
Even though the cat and the dog weigh a combined 15 pounds, they take up more room than I do. And even then, as I sneak under the covers nightly, as not to disturb any of the sleeping pets, I still never consider it "too many pets."