The perks of unconventional pets

Harper Wilcox, Staff Writer

   Every day after school, sophomore Monroe Beute goes home and goes to her backyard, where she feeds and takes care of her chickens and ducks. As an owner of unique animals, Beute has a lot of responsibilities when it comes to her pets.

   “I have 21 pets,” Beute said. “Sixteen of them are chickens, two are ducks, two are geckos and one is a cat.”

  When people think of a pet, a cat or dog usually comes to mind. Cats and dogs are both animals that outwardly show emotion, and sometimes the feeling of love is reciprocated between these animals and their owners. Unfamiliar animals can be perceived to not be rewarding to raise, but raising an uncommon pet is an enriching and interesting experience. Owning an animal that not many people are knowledgeable about has its perks. All pet owners share the experience of getting to know and love their pets, but for someone with an unusual animal, the experience of raising a pet becomes an opportunity to learn about the species of animal that they’re raising.

   “I’ve learned that chickens do actually have personality,” Beute said. “Each of my chickens has their own personality, and I think it’s interesting that regular animals can have their own unique traits.”

   Junior Samantha Lin owns three geckos, her favorite animal, and she’s been raising them for over six years. She has one Leopard gecko and two crested geckos.

   “One of my geckos I got when they were pretty mature,” Lin said “The other two we got when they were just past juvenile.”

   The bond between a human and their animal is one of the best parts of having a pet. In the case of dogs, and sometimes cats, the emotional bond is reciprocated. Many dog owners say that their dog is like their best friend. Even cats are nice from time to time. The connection that pet owners and their pets have leads to love between the human and their animal, but the connection between uncommon pets and their owners is unknown to many.

   “I’ve raised most of my chickens since they were little chicks, so it’s been fun to watch them grow up and lay eggs,” Beute said. “I name all [of them], so they’re pretty close to me. They actually act like dogs– when we call them up they come to us.”

   Through raising geckos, Lin has been able to appreciate and observe all of the different aspects of her pets.

   “They’re so cute,” she said.  “I always find it funny whenever I have to feed them. They were too slow to catch crickets, so now we feed [my geckos] mealworms, and it’s funny because they creep up to catch them, even though the mealworms are frozen.”

   No matter what pet someone owns, all pet owners share the experience of becoming more responsible by owning a pet. Taking care of a living animal is something that helps students grow and learn things that they can apply to their lives as adults.

   “[Raising my pets has] definitely taught me responsibility, which in the long run will really help me out,” Beute said.

Another added bonus is that pet owners learn a lot of fun facts about their animals.

   “I know so much about geckos now!” Lin said. “Leopard geckos are from the desert, so they don’t have sticky feet like the other ones. I also have crested geckos, which can’t grow back their tails unlike regular geckos, which can.”