Genres: Humorous, Memoir
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When Amy married a biologist named Mark, she knew a few pets were likely in her future, but she had no idea the number and kinds of pets Mark had in mind. It began when Mark purchased an aquarium for his son, Conrad, to keep a few frogs in. Amy’s mistake was responding by catching flies with Conrad and cheering as the frogs jumped across the aquarium to the catch the flies. When the frogs were released, Mark bought Conrad two iguanas, which Amy also helped care for until Mark found them a permanent home.
Shortly thereafter, Mark saw an African pygmy hedgehog he said he wanted, and not only was Amy charmed by the prickly creature, she wanted a pal for the hedgehog so it wouldn’t get lonely. Mark took this to mean a male hedgehog and soon Louie, the male hedgehog from St. Louis, Missouri, became a member of the family. Louie escaped three times from his cage for flings with the female hedgehog, resulting in several unplanned litters of baby hedgehogs.
Amy’s positive response to hedgehogs opened the door to a ferret; soon there were four. The ferrets dug up house plants, climbed in and out of cupboards, ripped up tiny bits of carpet stole, and hid pens, Beanie Babies and shoes. The ferrets were joined by several mice, gerbils and hamsters, some of which were kept on the kitchen counter. A white frou-frou puppy named Dusty came next, followed by another puppy, Little Dipper, to play with Dusty. Of course, Little Dipper preferred long walks and snuggling over playing with Dusty.
While humorous throughout, Something Furry Underfoot shows how to raise, spoil, and love all sorts of feathery and fuzzy creatures. It also shows how Amy fell for each pet in turn. The story is sprinkled with tips about pets, some of which are specific such as Tip #13: Two ferrets are often better than one, but sometimes one is better than the other. Others give the readers an idea of what’s coming, such as Tip #28: It is important (although not easy) to know a boy gerbil from a girl gerbil. Other tips are universal to all pets, such as Tip #46: It’s always hard when pets die.
So I know I normally review romance books or urban fantasy books, but one thing most people who know me in real life know about me is that I am a huge animal lover. My husband always worries when I say I want to volunteer at the animal shelter because I always seem to bring home another dog. So when I was asked to review this book, even though it was a memoir, I said YES.
The first thing I liked about this was the humor. The author is witty, sometimes sarcastic, and is able to laugh about situations that come her way. Take it from me, if you can’t laugh about dealing with animals, you shouldn’t have one.
The second thing I liked about the book was that it gave me the opportunity to see what it would be like to have other types of animals. I like the idea of fish in theory, my husband loves reptiles, I’ve always wanted to pig, and well our list goes on. But right now we have six dogs (two of who are babies) so getting any more animals right now just doesn’t seem like a good plan. So reading through Amy’s adventures and every new kind of animal she suddenly had in her house was nice for me to see what it would be like to have those animals. I have to say I am kind of glad my husband outgrew his love of ferrets, her story about being bitten day one is something I am glad I never had to deal with. But I have to admit her stories about her hedgehog Sonic were cute and amusing, and I still want to have one one day, or maybe I’ll settle for a hamster.
In my own life the roles are reversed, I am the one always bringing home another animal (almost always a dog), and my husband sometimes tries to talk me out of it, but I think he has resigned himself to the fact that I love puppies so we will always have puppies. Amy’s stories about how her husband only reads the paper when he is looking for a new animal, something I totally have to admit to doing too. It was really cool to see the other side of the equation.
I read a couple of chapters out loud to my husband, and he definitely had a couple of chuckles, even after only a couple pages. I can relate to a lot of things within this book, and so could my husband. I like that the book wasn’t just about the pets within their home, but the dynamic of the family as a whole. Because let’s face it, when you bring a pet home, any pet, they become a part of the family before you know.
I would recommend this book to anyone who has ever owned a pet. It’s a good, quick read, with plenty of laughs along the way, and laughs (along with pets) are really the best part of life.