Something so tiny can mean so very much

Published 9:15 am Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Some people are animal people. My mother is not an animal person.

Now if she had been here while I was typing this, she would have said, “I have nothing against animals as long as they’re not in my house.” I’ve heard this mantra many times growing up. What she really means is, “I have nothing against them as long as they’re not in my house, near my house or near me.”

I’ve never really managed to figure out the root of her unusual distaste for animal. It will likely remain a mystery, but we finally talked her in to letting us have a dog when I was in middle school.

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One day during my senior year of college, my mother kindly informed me that she had given Molly away to a family with younger children (and a mother who liked animals) — yes, you read that correctly — she had already given her away, and didn’t tell me until after she had done it. And then acted surprised I was so upset that I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to my dog.

It was not our best relational moment, but it does describe my mother’s connection to animals perfectly.

I have always assumed her dislike of animals is where my love of animals stemmed. You always want what you can’t have right?

Well, in addition to our former dog Molly, I’ve always had a rabbit that stayed in my room or walked around outside on a leash, which is a thing.

My last rabbit, Max, died shortly after I moved here. We spent a good seven years together. My mom even liked him. That’s right. She willingly took care of him for me for my first two years of college when I lived in a dorm and couldn’t have animals. She did try to give him away once, but she didn’t actually do it after I pitched a fit, which is why I presume she told me about Molly after she gave her away years later. Max hated carrots, loved hopping and I miss him dearly.

It’s funny how a five-pound animal can mean so much to you. I assume he’s hopping around bunny heaven now. He deserves to be. My mother even liked him.

So then it was just me and three beta fish. Why three you ask? They looked pitiful sitting on the shelf at a Wal-Mart in Alabama next to their dead brethren, and I couldn’t leave them there to die too, so I bought two, made my mom buy two and then acquired the third a year later from my younger brother who didn’t want to clean Lewis’ bowl.

A few weeks ago Shawn died, and now his partner in crime, Gus, seems to be holding on by a thread (no, they weren’t in the same bowl). They were touch and go when I bought them and mine lasted longer than my mother’s two, but it’s still sad.

It’s funny how something so tiny can mean so much.

Sarah Mahan is a staff writer at The Vicksburg Post. You may reach her at