Meet Harold, our new mascot

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After only being in town for an hour or so, a handful of different people we had plans with ended up canceling and we were left with most of an afternoon to spare. We decided to head back to our camp spot and start the fire early (it helps the RV to stay warmer in the evening) and work on art projects. We happen to camp down the road from the local animal shelter and humane society, and as I had been feeling lacking in the cute fuzzy creature department, I convinced Aaron that we should stop and “do some research and have some fun, we’ve been thinking about a pet, we should just stop and see what’s there”. This turned into a two hour escapade as we met every dog, cat, bunny and rat in the building.

A dog was out of the question, we both love them, but they are too big for an RV that already contains two people and a metal workshop and a library and wood pile and you get the picture; I love cats but Aaron says they are stuck up and was worried about one wandering away as we traveled. We ended up spending quite a bit of time with a massive white bunny named Daisy, shocking the poor receptionist who wandered over to check on us and found Aaron calmly holding the bunny on his lap while she took a nap. Apparently, this is not normal bunny behaviour and he was supposed to go through training and paperwork and have someone supervise so no one got hurt. They didn’t count on Aaron, who had owned a wild bunny for a while and tamed it to the point of walking a leash, so Daisy wasn’t really even a handful. She was a wonderfully sweet girl, but we were worried about her being to stressed with travel and trying to give her enough room outside. It’s a strange thought when one lives in the forest, but considering travel and predators and so on- not to mention the space she would need in the RV- and it was the same as having a dog.

Moving on to the rats we opened the cage to a cute little tan and white male dubbed “squeakers” by the staff, and he hopped right out of his house and up my arm, cuddling right away and sneezing the whole while. I chatted with the medical tech who treated him, and she said he was one of her favorites at the whole place and loved bananas. Within a few minutes of cuddles, both of us were in love. So half hour later, a handful of paperwork and some pictures for the place to use for promos, we walked out with a massive cage and a cute little rat we have now daubed “Mr. Harold Squeak”,  though it maybe should have been “sneeze”. He sneezes every time he gets excited or nervous about ANYTHING! (the “harold” was for harold and maude- the VW is Maude, Aaron calls her “his donkey”) We got him home, and within a few minutes he was trying to drag a giant roll of shiny gold ribbon into his house. He has also shown a preference for silk and lace, so he proving himself to be a rat of taste and distinction. He’s also loving sweet potatoes and almonds- but he peels off the skins, which I didn’t even know one could do to an almond!

The best part was introducing him to everyone, though Zoe took the cake, mostly because I played a prank. We went to the thrift store to find Harold a proper travel basket and found a wonderful one that looks like a cobra charmer basket. On arriving at Zoe’s I told her I was all excited because I found an amazing new craft basket and a bunch of craft supplies and I had a surprise for her on top. She lifted the lid and screamed loud enough to hear down the block! After this exciting meeting, they are now good friends, and Harold gave his approval for her trailer by spending a few minutes exploring sneezily (is that a word? Oh well, I’m talking about a rat being cute, I’m allowed) and promptly feel asleep on her lap. So now, we have a family pet, who I’m quite certain can be trained to do amazing things with avocado and bananas, to join us on our trip! Hooray!

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