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How to Love Chameleons.

There's this pet shop across pines boulevard, I walk in there often just to glance around but I never really payed much attention to how the animals were kept, until they brought the most amazing bird I'd ever seen. Her name was Meli, she was a pink cockatoo, at first I didn't notice her because I'd never look to the left when I walked in. She had been the bird of my dreams ever since I was small, I had this best friend all throughout elementary, her name was Andrea, Andrea Hernandez. We did everything together, I sent countless days at her house because she lived right around the corner, four streets down from my first home. One day her mother took us to an exotic bird place, It was somewhere downtown, they had a petting area and I got to hold a pink cockatoo. It was so beautiful. That was quickly and subtly swept into the back of my memories. Years went by and I never saw a cockatoo at all. I turned 8 or 9 and by that time I was still spending my after school hours at my grandparents house. Can't tell you how stimulating that was. I would go on walks with my Grandfather, around the block or the one across the way. We'd befriend the neighborhood dogs and wave to those who did the same. There was a hole about ten feet from my grandfather's house and it was always filled with trash, on one week day afternoon a truck came with a huge yellow crane. It looked like one of those bobcat company trucks and it'd scoop up the trash and heave it into the back. We walked in that direction sometimes, clockwise if you're looking out the window. One day there was something strange on the side walk near that hole, it was grey and limp, I didn't understand so I looked really close, it was a dead chameleon. Ever since then I've head the worst fear of dead things, I don't really like chameleons that much either. I guess it's because I'd never really thought about chameleons and since the first thought I'd ever really had about one was somewhere along the lines of "ew, that's limp grey and dead". But despite that negative feeling I simply loved reptiles. My grandpa would take me to this pet store in a strip mall by a Kmart, it's closed down now but that pet store was great, it was owned by some ozzy and his wife. I remember buying some turtles there once. My grandparents went there often because old people love Kmart so I would get to look around about once or twice a week. One day they had a new addition to the family of cute caged animals. I never knew her name but, it was a pink cockatoo. I didn't know anything about them, but I instantly remembered that time when I had one perched atop my arm. I picked up some of the scraps from the bottom of the cage and handed them to her, it was just the remains of dried prunes and peanut shells, thinking back now it seems like quite the tease but I didn't think of that back then neither did she, she would gracefully aproach my hand and slowly take what ever I had from my fingers, it was about the second time that she missed and accidentally caught my skin with her beak. I quickly pulled away in shock, I'd never thought parrots would be peaceful creatures. But I thought about the instance I felt her bite, it wasn't hard, and she pulled away as soon as she realized it wasn't a fruit. That's when I fell in love. I realized that those were the most majestic and beautiful animals in the world. Ever since then I'd beg my mom for one, but she came up with these abrupt answers that she never researched and came up with on her own accord. "They're loud" "The smell" "They're expensive" I must have herd those three over a thousand times. I gave up, but now I've grown, I'm 17, 18 next March. I've moved, I've lost relatives, I've loved, I've loathed, and I've lost many cats. But I still go to pet stores, apparently. Recently I've developed the hobby of collecting exotic animals, I don't have any yet, all I have are 3 cats, 2 dogs, 2 dwarf hamsters and 2 dwarf bunnies. I plan on getting an Albino horned frog, a Chinese water dragon, two red ear sliders a bearded dragon and a few hermit crabs. Then I want to buy a daily planer and write down their feeding times so I can learn how to manage time and gain experience in animal care. Naturally I want to be an animal care specialist by the time I graduate from college to become a scientist of sorts. I was searching Google for pet stores around my area that would have albino horned toads, and I came across "Pet Wonder", that was the store across the street and it had terrible reviews, and I was shocked when I returned for my routine visit. All the animals are kept in broken cages, they're probably not kept at the right temperatures and humiditys, it's making them sick, I checked the turtles in the back and was surprised to find that despite their clean and nice habitat their shells were not healthy, they had holes and it seemed like they had been through some wear. They keep a pair of their lizards in a window display, exposed to the sun which is not good for them. They also had this snake with green algae growing on it's water dish. It pains me to see Meli in a cage, being passed by people day by day, with no permanent friends. They don't even cover her at night. I went to the movies to see the new pixar film, "up", when I walked out of the theater I walked towards the store and peeked through the window, it was dark but I still saw her, alone in the dark, just waiting. I want to be her permanent friend more than anything right now but my mother's unemployed and we don't have $2,500 to be spending on yet another pet. I feel her pain, I feel alone in my cage I can't even walk around. May-be someday I'll take her somewhere fun where she can spread her wings and talk. I want to love her and give her a permanent home. I too feel isolated, and unprotected, I don't feel like I have a permanent home, I just live in the house my mother shares with that man she's going to marry, or has married, I'm not sure if they're legal or not. Don't trust anyone in this world to protect me, I don't feel they think I'm worth it. Although I know I am, I am as grand as they come, I know I will make this world a better place by sharing love and raising awareness the awareness of love, I want to become a scientist so that I can learn about the animals in this world and tell stories to people who have never thought about these sorts of things, and hopefully it will be the first time they think of such things because there's nothing like a first impression. I will teach the whole world how to loves chameleons.

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