Mat was very excited when he got up early Saturday morning; it was the day he was allowed to go and get his first pet. He had badgered his mum into submission but that was only the first obstacle. His dad seemed even more anti-pet than mum.
Eventually, dad had come round to a compromise: “You may have a pet that goes in a cage or hutch or something, but no dogs or cats having free run of the house.” His condition was final.
Mat was happy with the slightly begrudged permission from dad. He knew quite a few nine- year olds at school would envy him having a real live creature in his possession. He would really have liked a dog and was now not too sure what he would choose at Pat’s Pets when he got there.
When he and mum walked through the door the birds were chirping and twittering, the parrots and macaws screeching, it seemed like pandemonium. Mat was excited. He headed over to the parrot and macaw section where he and his mates often visited on their way from school. They had more than a laugh or two listening to the “Not for Sale” macaw mouthing naughty sayings it had been taught.
The shop was bustling with customers and children looking at the animals.. Suddenly, Mack the “Not for Sale” macaw mouthed, “You’ve got an ugly mug.” A posh lady buying seed for her canary turned round and stared at Mat who was standing there, with a look of total disgust on her face. Mat’s mum started to explain but the lady didn’t want to know.
Mat noticed a small boy who was holding his mother’s hand and tormenting an African Grey with other. Pretending to feed it and then pulling his finger away and then making out as if to poke it and pull its tail. As the boy got more confident he ventured to give it a real poke – he screamed out, his finger firmly fixed in the bird’s pecker. “Let that be a lesson to you.” Mat thought.
Mum, hesitantly, agreed to move over with Matt to look at the creepy crawly section, but said,
“Tarantulas are most certainly out of the question.”
“Can I have a snake then, or a baby alligator?” Matt teased.
He would really have like to possess some kind of reptile. Perhaps a lizard or better still a snake, he wasn’t really teasing mum.
Mum, eventually, persuaded him to move to the general pet section where the cuddly rabbits, guinea pigs and gerbils hung out. There was a bit of a scuffle going on in this section, one of the assistants was chasing an escaped gerbil around without much success. Mat decided to join in the chase (he wasn’t afraid to handle creatures).
Eventually, the gerbil did what came natural to it – it did a bit of climbing but unfortunately it was up a lady’s leg and that set her off hysterically dancing around. The shoppers now became an audience as the lady tried to shake herself free of the dreadful intruder. Matt saw the animal rustling around and bravely grabbed it, to gigantic applause. Mat thought, “I’m a hero.”
His mum was so pleased that Mat had been the rescuer that she said, “Ring dad on your mobile and tell him about what has happened.”
“Dad, I’ve just rescued a gerbil, it ran up a lady’s skirt and I got it down. Everybody thought I was great and they all clapped me.”
“Great one son – have you sorted a pet out yet?”
“No not yet, but I’m working on it.”
“I’ve been thinking son, as a lad I always wanted a dog but never got one. I’ve changed my mind you can have a pup if you want. Tell mum what I said. Bye.”
Mat eyed over all the pups but he kept coming back to the cuddly white one with a black patch over its left eye – it seemed to keep looking at him and winking.
“He thought that is the one. Its name will be Patch and I will love it forever.”
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