About 8 months ago, Peggy VanDorn gave Haddon a new creepy, crawly pet (which are his favorite kind). It was a dusty, half-dead salamander in a cup. Haddon carefully cleaned him off and put him in a little plastic habitat that was formerly used to house hermit crabs. In the following weeks, Haddon learned everything he could about his salamander from books and the internet. He named his barred tiger salamander (I'm not kidding, that kid did his research) "Drifter," which I thought was a pretty good salamander name. He learned that Drifter was not aquatic (oops) and bought him a fish tank, wood chips, and an artificial log at the pet store so that he could have a bigger and more natural environment. He dug worms to feed Drifter and supplemented them with vitamin covered flies (also from the pet store).
Haddon is a very good creepy, crawly pet owner. He loves all things slimy. He took very good care of Drifter. He was absolutely devastated tonight to find that Drifter had passed away sometime this evening. Poor Haddon cried and cried. He loved that salamander. He laid in his bed and cried until 10:30 which is when I usually let Snickers in for bed. He finally fell asleep with his little arm around his dog.
It still surprises me sometimes how tender hearted my all-boy son is. How do you fall so in love with a pet that you can't even cuddle with? But, he did. And I know he will miss Drifter. I'll miss Drifter, too! Imagine a pet that doesn't make a mess, is absolutely silent and odorless, and can be completely cared for by an 8 year old boy...pretty darn near perfect as far as pets go. Sure, he wasn't cute and cuddly, but Drifter never once tipped over the trash can, pulled undies out of the hamper to chew on, or pooped on my floor. I asked Haddon if he'd want another salamander, but he says he thinks he'd like a frog now.