Of Spiders, Dogs, and Other Pets

Almost everybody here has at least one dog. There’s evidence of them everywhere, whether it’s on the sidewalks or barking sounds emanating from behind locked gates at all hours of the day and night.

Dogs are good companions, and they provide a measure of security. My landlady has five of them – all Chihuahuas. How much of a deterrent a small dog like a Chihuahua is, I don’t know. I’m not of the mindset to break into any homes.

But, I’m sure that anyone wanting to break into my casita or my landlady’s house will want to think twice. After scaling a ten foot wall, ringed with metal spikes and barbed wire, I’m sure the thought of being attacked by a pack of 5 angry Chihuahuas is enough to strike fear into the heart of anyone who might want to try.

I don’t have a dog and I don’t want any. For all their good qualities, they are a drag on anyone who wants to pursue a lifestyle that includes a lot of frequent travel. Dogs are really for homebodies. That’s why they call them domestic animals.

But the past several days, I did acquire a domestic “pet”…kind of. I woke up one morning, and there he/she was – big brown spider – sitting on the wall across from my bed. By big, I mean big. It’s “wing span” was about the diameter of a 14 ounce can. The only time I can remember seeing a spider this big was a big hairy black and yellow one in the Dominican Republic crawling across the ceiling above my bed.

My first reaction was: how do I get rid of this thing? It’s too big to squish. My security deposit isn’t big enough to cover the clean-up. So what does one do when confronted with this kind of situation? Google “Mexican brown spider.”

Well, it seems that this guy looked like one by that very name. But, he’s bigger than the typical Mexican brown spider. They’re usually the size of a quarter. While they’re neither poisonous nor aggressive, you can get a nasty bite from them, and even a bad reaction. The advice when brown spiders are around is not to leave clothes on the floor and shake them out before putting them on.

Who knows how long this one’s been in my bedroom. You see, it’s kind of like one of those cats that don’t like people. They’re always hiding, so you never see them. I’ve learned that it lives behind a picture and only comes out at night. When it comes out, it never moves (unless disturbed). It just sits in the same place for hours…waiting for something. Maybe it’s waiting for daylight so it can crawl back behind the picture. I’m afraid to take the picture down because, with a spider that big, I can’t imagine the size of what its eating back there.

So, as long as my “pet” behaves and stays on the wall and behind the picture, I’ll let him stay.

Since every pet should have a name, I’ve named it Fred. Fred and I have had a talk. I don’t want him to get all cuddly like some other pets. So, I’ve told him in no uncertain terms is he to get into bed with me. I don’t need any spider hickeys.

Now, having a pet spider does have some advantages. Spider food is a lot less expensive than dog or cat food. A spider doesn’t need shots. You can leave it alone when you go away…kind of like cats. It can take care of itself. And if the time comes when you have to put it down…well. Bye-bye security deposit.

Gotta go. Fred just came out. He’s looking at me type from his perch on the other side of the room. I don’t want him to know I’m writing about him.

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