SOL #8: My First Pet

My first pet was not a dog or a cat. I didn’t have a hamster, snake or turtle. My first pet was unique and special. It was a snail, but it one day it ran away.

It wasn’t just an ordinary snail. It was huge, the size of my palm. I was 10 years old when I found Shelly. I was walking in the grass at a cottage on a lake in New Hampshire, looking for something to do when I spotted it. I had never seen anything like it, only the tiny brown snails in the lake that are the size of my thumbnail. I assumed it was dead because it was lying in the grass, no water in sight.

I ran upstairs and placed it in a cup of water to clean it off. I put the cup on my windowsill, and ran outside to see what my sister was up to.

Hours later I went back in my room to change out of my bathing suit. As I was going through my drawers I saw it out of the corner of my eye. The cup was EMPTY. Did someone take it? Where did it go? Was it alive??

“What snail?” asked my parents.

“No, I didn’t touch anything!” replied my sister.

This was getting weird. I looked all over my bedroom. There was nothing unusual under the bed and nothing around the window. I moved things around on the floor and picked up a brown paper grocery bag that was laying flat on the floor. And there it was. The snail. I had a pet and it was alive!

We drove home from vacation the next day and I kept Shelly in a Frisbee with a sand sifter on top. I put some grass in her cage and smiled the entire trip home. My parents wouldn’t let me keep her in the house so I put her in her new home on the back patio. Every day I would check on her until one day I noticed the sand sifter was not on the Frisbee anymore. Shelly was gone. She did it. She finally escaped.


5 thoughts on “SOL #8: My First Pet

  1. A great story! I have had many pets, but never a snail. And, as slow as they move, it is hysterical that she ran away…twice! Also her name – Shelly. Perfect for a snail! I love this story. I think it is universal. So many of us have these memories of “saving” a life. I am reminded of Crab Moon by Ruth Horowitz. And I am also thinking, it is a good thing you did not befriend a baby alligator or boa constrictor….but that would have happened in New Hampshire.


  2. I ADORE this post!!!!!!! And I love the line, “It was a snail, but one day it ran away.” My sister and I used to collect snails and name them all Henry (or versions of it-there was also Henry’s wife, Henry’s daughter, Henry’s son…” took me back to my childhood.


  3. Great story. My favorite part was:
    The cup was EMPTY. Did someone take it? Where did it go? Was it alive??

    “What snail?” asked my parents.

    “No, I didn’t touch anything!” replied my sister.

    I love the all caps, the questions and the dialogue. It made me feel like I was right there as you were in a panic to find the snail.


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