ours was not a pet-centric family. no parade of cats, dogs, mice, parakeets for us – it was just two parents and two kids inhabiting our suburban bungalow, back in the 70s. except for one brief interlude! the era of george and marshmallow:
[how completely appropriate that i can reminisce about bunny rabbits on easter weekend!]
as you can see, george and marshmallow became a part of our family when the brother and i were about ages four and seven, respectively. thinking back, i don’t recall clamouring for a pet, or begging my parents to get us a cute and cuddly something that we could name, play with and pet (after all, why else have an animal in the house when you are little? it was certainly not for the desire to spill out their food, clean up their poop, or discipline them).
since my memories of george and marshmallow are more impressionistic rather than detailed, i emailed mom and asked her how/why george and marshmallow ended up in our family. i’ll share mom’s account:
You and your brother asked for/campaigned for a pet, some kind of pet, and one that you could pet, so no fish aquarium again. Since this mama was not about to include a dog or cat in the household, we tried to think of an alternative. It was actually [some family friends] who mentioned the possibility of a rabbit. Mrs B’s brother, I forget his name, had a Bunny Business. So we drove to their mini farm, just outside of Waterloo, and you and your brother chose your bunnies from the stock available. George was named after the George and Martha books, and you named yours Marshmallow because it was all white. I did not see the necessity of you having pets, to be honest. I thought that you could get that desire fulfilled second-hand at either [family friends] the M’s or the C’s. But I caved and George and Marshmallow took up residence in the – I can’t believe this – garage. Dad built little hutches, and you and your brother fed them faithfully. I remember adding extra lettuce and carrots to our grocery order. I do not remember who cleaned the cages, but it was not me. Must have been Dad.
whatever became of george and marshmallow, you ask? again, let’s let mom tell the story…
After they seemed to run their course/wear out their welcome, we took them to the C’s farm where they resided for a very short span of time before a wily Mr. Fox found them. Mr C did not know how to share this info because he thought that you would be very sad and upset. But, as I remember it, you and your brother took the news quite well [we did - i do not remember being heartbroken - sorry!]. And that was the end of the can-we-have-a-pet era. I remember that my favourite line was, “If a dog (or cat) moves in, I move out,” and fortunately you thought it was better to have a live-in mommy than a live in animal.
it’s funny what sticks in your head – the biggest memory i have of george and marshmallow is of the smell! to this day, i can clearly recall the
stench distinct odour of the rabbits’ cage. i swear our garage retained the scent of rabbit poop for many, many years.
pets: feel free to share the who/what/where/when/why/how of your childhood! our other caring-for-a-pet exposure was for my favourite dog, ever!
we would take care of dad’s boss’ miniature schnauzer from time to time – long weekends, summer vacations, winter get-away weeks. gretel is the only dog i have never feared, even a tiny bit.