Remember that post about pet adoption?
This weekend a bed we are replacing fell over and hit Matilda and shoved her into my desk, where the corner cut her temple. So it was off to the ER and wait for 4 hours to get two (2) stitches.
Anyhoo, after the stitches, we sat out on a bench in front of the hospital waiting for Our Favorite Husband/Father to collect us.
There was an old man sitting on the bench, dressed in black wranglers and a cowboy shirt, drinking black coffee from a styrofoam cup. He also wore horrible cheap black loafers. With all that black, I guessed he was waiting on some awful news or visiting his ill wife or some such. But no, it was just a black story he had to tell.
Figure 1: Rat with Mammary Cyst, via Wikimedia: "...Chelsea, a seal point pet rat with a severe mammary cyst. I took her later that day to have her put down, but the vet refused to do so as it was likely non-cancerous and she was not in any real pain. She died a couple of months later. Her two siblings also developed similar cysts, too, over the next few months."
While Matilda was sitting with me, she started chattering about dogs and cats and all the pets she likes. Then she started playing and dinking around.
The man asked me, "She like pets?"
"Yes," I said. "She sure does."
"My grand-daughter loves 'em, too," the man said. "She has a little rat that she carries around like a baby."
"Really?" I said.
"Yeah," he replied. "She got 'im from the University of Minnesota. They give 'em away free, 'cause they inject 'em with chemicals and cancer and what not. So they can study 'em."
"Oh, wow," I said.
"They get big tumors, though," he said. "From the cancer they inject in 'em. And then they die. I dunno what my grand-daugther's gonna do, now that thing's gotta a big tumor and it's gonna die soon. She carries it around like a little baby."
"Yeah, that'll be hard," I said.
I have an amazing ability to respond normally to kooks and weirdos and insane information. Of course, meanwhile, I was thinking:
What kinda family allows its kid to have a experimental animal full of cancer and who knows what else for a pet?
Are they really that poor?
Is this their way of getting their child acquainted with the niceties and protocols involved in dealing with stage 4 cancer?
Though I'm big proponent of reuse, I'm not seeing the reasoning behind this. Of course, beyond the whole "Sweet! Free pet!" perspective.