Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Since returning from a stint of cat-sitting for my sister I have been contemplating the many advantages that pet ownership can bestow: company, decreased stress levels, saving the NHS dosh, etc.. For me though, it is about having someone to talk to whose eyes do not glaze over when I open my mouth or worse, fall asleep.

So I took stock of the situation and examined my life to see what kind of pet I would be willing to accommodate. These key attributes leapt to mind: easy to look after, no need for walks, can cope 'home alone' for long periods (i.e. self-reliance), no litter tray, cheap (preferably free) to feed, allergy free, no fleas and no vet bills. This is, admittedly, a tall order for any pet but one finds answers to life's little conundrums in the most unexpected places and the very next day I found 'Phil' by the patio door. His little sticky legs and thin body looked in desperate need of sustenance. My heart melted. I adopted him on the spot.

Phil having 'his' dinner

He (actually 'his' sex is yet to be determined) is everything I could have wished for. He hits all the buttons for the perfect pet: in addition to actually removing pests from my house rather than bringing them in. He listens for hours to my remonstrations regarding the irrationality of the world. He never falls asleep and his eyes (none of them) ever glaze over. I know exactly where to find him when I need a rant and have a chair next to his 'web' (an untidy collection of silk) for when the need arises.

His official kennel (or 'web?) name is Philip Pholcus phalangioides. He's a daddy long legs spider (at least I am pretty sure he is - but am no arachnologist). There are many, many daddy long legs spiders in my house and it takes me some time to do the hoovering and dusting as I take great pains to avoid sucking them up into oblivion - although accidents do happen. I like Phil and his mates. They do that fabulous whirling Dervish thing when you inadvertently disturb their webs - I guess to confusticate would be predators.

And they eat flies! Wow! What more could one ask of a pet?

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