1. Bertoldo
    Goldfish I named after my family's gardener. When the fish passed away, my mom called my dad at work and told him "I found Bertoldo dead, face down in the water" which made him think our gardener had died while mowing our lawn.
  2. Chow Chow
    A battery-operated stuffed dog that would take three stilted steps and then bark. Given to me by my grandmother, who knew I wanted a dog really badly.
  3. My brother
    When I whined about wanting a dog too much, my mom told me I didn't need a dog, I already had one: my little brother Jeremy.
  4. Lambie
    A fuzzy soft leaf I picked from a plant and kept next to my bed for three months.
  5. Susie and Bob
    When I didn't stop complaining about how much I wanted a dog, my parents said I could get newts. Susie and Bob were fire-bellied newts who constantly tried to commit suicide by crawling out of their bowl and hiding in the dust under my bed. After a few years I returned them to the pet store to put them out of their misery.
  6. Ferrell
    A stray cat who started wandering in our backyard, and soon began spending the night with us. She spent so much time at our house that we named her (Ferrell, for feral cat) and considered her ours. My dad even took her to the vet and got her microchipped. Two days later, she disappeared. My parents went around to neighbors asking if they'd seen her. Turns out they had -- she belonged to another family on the other side of the block and was really named Princess Maya. What a player.
  7. Dr. Jones
    I bought my high school newspaper a goldfish, in hopes that a class pet would make everyone bond. No one cared about him, so I took him home. He was such a good little fish. He would swim up towards my fingers when I wiggled them above the bowl, which made me feel like we understood each other. When he died, my dad helped me bury him in the backyard, and I was so sad I didn't eat fish for four years afterwards.
  8. Sequoia
    The light of my life. I still can't believe I get to own my own real life mammalian pet, let alone one as wonderful as Sequoia. I met her in 2009 when she was three months old and still had her shelter-given name of Bacardi. I wasn't even looking for a cat that day, but she climbed on my lap, put her paw on my arm, and stared into my eyes with her little blue eyes for a full minute. Then she tried unsuccessfully to bat my glasses off my face. I was in love.