Not The Touching Animal Story You Were Expecting

, , , , , , | | Right | May 27, 2019

(I enter the butterfly house at the zoo with my husband, toddler, and baby. There are only a few groups of people inside, so it is quite quiet. Near the entrance is a mother talking to her son, who is about five years old. He has apparently just touched a butterfly.)

Mother: “You can’t touch them. It’s going to die now.”

Boy: *no reaction*

Mother: “Don’t touch the butterflies.”

(They slowly go through the exhibit with another woman and small girl, and we follow slowly behind. Near the exit, the mother and other woman are chatting with each other while looking at their phones. The zookeeper is facing the other way, talking to another visitor. The children are squatting next to a garden bed. The boy picks up a stick and, holding it like a baseball bat, takes a swipe at a butterfly. Thankfully, he misses. The mother takes no notice, and the keeper hasn’t seen it. I stand a few meters away, staring at the boy, waiting for him to do it again. A couple of butterflies pass near him and he starts thrashing the stick around.)


(Everyone turned to look and the mother hustled her son out, looking annoyed. I guess violently attacking butterflies is okay so long as you don’t touch them.)

Who’s A Good Boy?

, , , , | | Friendly | May 27, 2019

(I work in a popular pet supply store. A woman with a male dog comes through my line. The dog has a cone on his head, leading me to believe he has recently had a surgery of some sort, so I ask what happened.)

Woman: “Oh, well, he just had a little snip-snip ‘down there,’ if you know what I mean.”

Me: *petting dog* “Poor baby. I’m so sorry that happened to you! Bet you were a brave boy!”

Woman: “Well, he’s not a boy now!”

(My eyes bulge out of my head and I stop for a moment to peek “down there” with a worried expression on my face. The woman, realizing I thought she had a transgender dog, began to talk very fast.)

Woman: “NEUTERED! He was neutered! He is still a boy! I can’t imagine a situation where you’d do… Not that I’m against that sort of thing! Just so much money for a dog! How would you even tell they’d want that?!”

Need To Treat Them Better

, , , , , | | Friendly | May 27, 2019

(There is a farm supply store in my town that allows dogs inside. My dad often takes our dog there to buy dog food, and the ladies at the registers love to pet him and give him treats. One day, I go there to look for a certain product. They don’t have it, so I go to leave, bypassing the registers. My dog stops in front of the doors, refusing to move. I have to drag him out. We get outside, and a cashier runs outside with a treat.)

Cashier: “He didn’t get his treat. That’s probably why he didn’t want to leave.”

Got Her Quirkiness Down Pat

, , , , , | | Right | May 22, 2019

(I am assisting one of our regular elderly customers in trying to find a product for her pet.)

Me: “I don’t think we have any more of these pet wipes, but it can’t hurt to check…”

Regular: “Oh, hello, doggie! Aren’t you handsome!”

(Our charity shop is pet-friendly, but there is an assistance dog working beside his owner, complete with a harness emblazoned with, “ASSISTANCE DOG — DO NOT PET.” The owner, another regular customer, looks a bit uncomfortable and sick of this kind of thing, so I jump in to prevent a dispute.)

Me: “You know, [Regular], that dog’s working, so you basically just did the same as going up to a police officer and patting him on the head!”

Regular: “Oh, I have no problems doing that all the time, love!”

Me: “You know, [Regular], I believe that. I really do.”

They Pulled The Rabbit Out Of The Hat

, , , , , , | | Hopeless | May 20, 2019

When my now-husband and I got together, I had one house rabbit who was very much a daddy’s boy; that is, I was his daddy and nobody else! A couple of months into our relationship, we decided to go to the pet shop to look at and pet the other rabbits under the pretense of wanting to get him a playmate. The babies were all adorable of course, and then the staff member asked if we wanted to meet the adoptions.

The last one she brought out was a large doe who was still in isolation and not ready to be adopted. She had been brought in because she was “aggressive” and she had nicks and still-healing bites along her ears. When I picked her up and stroked her, she just melted into my arms.

We returned the day she was available for adoption and took her home.

We were able to guess from her behaviour some of what happened to her. She had serious food and attention issues, and would pester us constantly for attention, as well as my other rabbit once we got them living together. Most heartbreaking was the nightmares; when she slept she would squeak and twitch and jolt out of her sleep, clearly distressed.

About a year and a half ago, we lost the older rabbit, and when she fell into a depression we knew we had to get her a new playmate, no matter how we felt about it.

She’s been with us for approaching six years now, and while some of her issues remain — primarily with food; to this day she’s terrified of not getting enough — the difference warms my heart every time I remember it. She still loves attention but now it feels less like being attention starved and more like her simply being an affectionate rabbit. She and our newer rabbit absolutely adore each other. Best of all, now, when she sleeps, we can still tell when she’s dreaming, but now they’re clearly pleasant dreams; her eyes and ears twitch, and she does the gentle intermittent tooth grind that is the rabbit equivalent of purring. She wakes up slowly, sleepy and happy. She has gone from an animal constantly afraid of losing what she had to one who is simply… happy.


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