I was terrified of dogs when I was young and felt like I was the only one, as if I were a rare mammal—genus: Canis terrifidis. In my house, the only creatures I grew up with were fish, the worst pets of all. They belong in the freezer section of your local supermarket. I’m not sure why they’re anywhere near the puppies and kittens in pet stores other than to rip people off since most last slightly longer than a carton of milk. Shop owners should really line up the merchandise in death order: cockatiels and turtles on one end, hamsters and guppies on the other.
I couldn’t blame my parents for denying us; they had a houseful of kids and couldn’t imagine also nurturing a face-licking, Frisbee-fetching, foot-of-the-bed-sleeping, kibble-nibbling, trick-learning, honest-to-god pet. But there were consequences.