Posted Apr 11, 2013
When I was just 11 years old, I spent a lot of time with my dad in our summer garden. It was at the edge of our property line, near a small creek, and full of critters. I’ll never forget the afternoon my dad turn over a pile of loose soil and leaves and out scurried the funniest looking spotted creature I’d ever seen!
We caught it and I was quick to make a habitat consisting of a small, shallow pool of water, loose soil, twigs and leaves. I fed him worms and any other live insects I could find and catch. I named him Sammy, though, I was not sure then, or now, if my pet was male or female.
Sammy wasn't very active during the day unless I was giving him fresh food. I remember thinking he ate quite a bit for being such a small thing. I didn't handle him a lot but when I did, I remember he was always very still. He was more active at night and I spent many evening hours sitting next to him, just watching him mill about.
As our family summer vacation grew near, I knew I was going to have to let Sammy go. It was a sad event for the whole family but, we brought him back down to the garden and said our good-byes and went on to enjoy our vacation.
Guess who was waiting next to the garage when we returned home? I know it was Sammy though the rest of my family didn't think it could be. We weren't able to catch him again and even though it made me sad at the time, I know now, it really was for the best.
I’m in my 40’s now and still remember the time I spent with Sammy!
These days, I’d never recommend taking any healthy wild animal, out of their original habitat, to keep as a pet. Even with my son, when he catches a frog, he may spend some time with it and has even made little “homes” for them but, he knows, the animal always gets to go to their real home before he comes inside.