Collared - Baltimore Sun readers' pets [Pictures]
TELL US ABOUT YOUR PET: We're interested in cats and dogs, but also hamsters, hedgehogs, turtles, horses, chickens -- the whole pet gamut.
Email the following information to email@example.com: pet name, owner name, how you met, pet's age, hometown, breed (or best guess), favorite activity, favorite food, funniest moment or sweetest story. Feel free to add your own creative categories, too -- anything that will shine a light on your pet.
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Fifi( Christopher T. Assaf, Baltimore Sun photo / June 2, 2013 )
Kate Wyatt-Burrows took a head-on approach to helping her son Wyatt conquer his severe fear of spiders in 2008: She bought him a tarantula. Nearly five years later, Fifi is a beloved family pet, and Wyatt, 10, and brother Raymond, 12, are very proud arachnid fans.
"We read up and learned as much as we could about spiders," Kate says. "The journey of fear conquering ended up in purchasing a rose-haired tarantula for Wyatt's 6th birthday. We don't know the sex, so we called it a him and named him Fifi."
Fifi had been a comfort word for Wyatt when he was little.
Fifi lives in Wyatt's room in Abingdon, and the boys love showing him off to guests, some of whom are more than a little surprised when they meet the spider. "They feel tough having a pet tarantula," Kate says. "Guests are excited or scared to see him. The boys don't hold him, but two friends of mine have. Fifi is very shy and skittish."
He does assert himself, though, when the family cat walks by his tank, raising his front legs in a threatening manner.
Fifi gets water regularly and crickets every two months, and when he molts, he leaves behind a skin that looks like another spider. The family thinks he's about 8 years old; he'll probably live to be about 20.
Kate says Fifi is easy to live with and care for, but she knows spider ownership isn't for everyone and cautions others to do their research before committing. That said, it was the perfect thing to get Wyatt over his fear. "He sleeps in the same room blissfully with Fifi every night," she says.
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