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 (right), 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.
To have your pet considered for Collared, email information to email@example.com.
--Kim Fernandez (Christopher T. Assaf, Baltimore Sun photo /June 3, 2013)
Start shopping and help homeless pets at the same time.
That's the idea behind the Maryland SPCA's annual Shop-a-Paw-Looza, which started Friday, Oct. 5, and runs through Tuesday, Oct. 30. Last year, the adoption program raised $40,000 through the online auction.
So what can you get? A vacation in Mexico, a football signed by the Ravens' Joe Flacco, tickets to "The Daily Show," wine tastings, cupcakes, dog beds (pictured here) and animal acupuncture treatments are just a few of the items you can bid on.
To place a bid, go here
Also, if you want to donate items, the Maryland SPCA will be accepting goods and services throughout the month. To donate, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 410-235-8826, ext. 138.