Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Details

Collett, A. A. (2013). The dog and the chameleon poet. In M. J. Boyde (Eds.), Captured: The Animal Within Culture (pp. 131-151). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.


I have never had any desire to 'own' a dog, or indeed, any 'pet'. Thisdoes not mean that I do not entertain the possibility of a companionaterelationship between dog and human, or that I cannot see the possiblevalue to each in such a relationship, but four children seemed morethan enough to cope with. My children were given as great a measureof freedom and choice as could be afforded them without danger tothemselves - a difficult line to determine and tread. When they beggedfor a pet, I eventually capitulated and two mice were purchased, withrun and cage and wheel, and with the assurance that they were bothfemale. I felt uncomfortable, but told myself there would be benefits tomy children (I had my doubts about the mice) in learning to care andtake responsibility for the care of another being. Given my abhorrenceof caging, the mice were given plenty of 'controlled' rein/reign in thehouse which seemed to work okay - okay that was until the baby micecame along. (I discovered, after the fact obviously, that sexing miceaccurately is notoriously difficult and unreliable.) The mice kittens generatedenormous excitement and great delight. Then the neighbouringchildren came to visit.