Memoirs – Pets

These are the stories that shaped my life, these are my memoirs.

Joe Hoover is the critically acclaimed author of the Do Not Disturb sign for Travelodge in Milton Keynes.   His new book “Lay-by’s of the United Kingdom” , a companion piece to his previous publication “The Michelin Guide to Dogging Sites” is published in the Autumn.  He lives a charmed life in London.

Many people harbour fond memories of their childhood pets, a member of the family, their loss as traumatic as any grandparent passing.

I never had pets, not one.  My mother said she was allergic to animals which puzzled me when I looked at her old photos of her growing up with dogs, cuddling a large poodle til it choked.

Therefore my first pet was a Goldfish when I was 30 years old.  It died.

I always pined for a pet, so much so I collected caterpillars growing up, plucking them from the local fauna and placing them in my bucket, I kept the bucket in my shed overnight and they had all vanished by the morning.

At school we had a classroom hamster.   Pupils would take it in turns to have it for the weekend, of course I was never allowed to volunteer due to my mothers allergies.

During one break in between classes we were behaving with the usual tomfoolery befitting 7 year olds, it was at this point I froze.    A cold shiver ran down my back and from the corner of my eye I spied a shape, it was on my right shoulder and it was moving.

Quick as a flash I moved my left hand across my chest and made a sweeping action, flinging whatever was on me across the classroom.  It hit a wall and fell to the floor with a light thud.   I had feared it was a giant spider hence my reflex action to get it off me, little did I know this was just a friend’s idea of a practical joke.

Screams from my fellow classmates ensued as a crowd gathered around the dead hamster lying on the floor.

Leave a comment


  1. hiddinsight

     /  August 10, 2012

    LOL…and since that happened you never got another goldfish again?! Come on…I must know!

    • I hasten to add that I never killed the goldfish. My flatmate thought it a good idea to bung a lod more fish in it’s tank, he wasn’t that sociable so he just held its breath, turned on his side and floated to the top.

      I have a cat now, I haven’t killed her yet.

  2. Haha for some reason I remember my babysitter giving mouth-to-mouth to her guinea pig when it was dying. I hope she was putting on a show for the kids and not really thinking this would work. I’m assuming this hamster was dead upon impact, no?

  3. Oh, Joe. Say it ain’t so about the hamster!

  4. Hamster killer… I will never be able to look at your picture again without shuddering… but good post.

  5. Oh No! Not the poor little hamster!

  6. Oh… that is so sad. Your hamster was courteous enough to not make a fuss when he was slammed against the wall. How very British. It was not your fault, of course: I blame your classmate.

    Glad to hear you haven’t given up on having a pet. Cats can live for many years. Unless you dangle them over a pack of Rotweilers.

    • I like that you don’t worry about my love of cats by imagining a terrible scene of carnage. We will get along famously!

  7. I came across this earlier today and thought of you, because of your cover song series. Somehow it seems even more appropriate now:

  8. What nasty little buggers to plant the hamster on you! I bet they were not compelled to repeat that special brand of tom-foolery, the little murderers!

  9. Oh god! Nooo! (too bad it wasn’t a spider)

  10. I hope you turned to your classmates and said ‘let that be a lesson to you.’

    May I commend you on your work with the Travelodge door sign? I’ve considered it a stellar piece of literature since my encounter, and it’s nice to put an author’s name to such a classic.

  11. What is it with boys and caterpillars? My son brought a huge tomato worm into the house last night and I marched him right back outside where I could keep a safe distance. From both of them. 😉

  12. I’m glad you lead a charmed life . . . well except for “the incident” that is!

  13. No offense Joe, but you would make a lousy pirate with that shoulder swipe reflex of yours. I can just imagine the mass grave of parrots in your back garden.

  14. If only Food Network had existed back then.
    You could have redeemed yourself in your classmates eyes by snacktime.


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