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In honor of National Pet Day we’re publishing some of our favorite animal anecdotes. Wishing you and your hairy friend a happy holiday.

When I was nine-years-old, my mother took me to our local PetSmart. She needed to buy fish food, or dog food, or maybe cat food. I’m not sure. When we arrived, I scampered off by myself to look at all the gerbils, lizards, and the feeder albino mice with the red eyes. I noticed an odd woman, with stringy hair and a weathered face near the front of the store. She was taking inventory of the guinea pigs. My Mom was now in the very back of the store.

I went up to the lady, who was holding a guinea pig in two hands. I ogled the guinea pig for a second, until she said, “Do you want to pet it?”

I nodded.

She said: “They like it when you pet their nose… why don’t you try…”

So, I did. And as I did so, the lady squeezed the guinea pig in her tobacco-wrinkled hands. The rodent chomped through my fingernail and the flesh of my pointer finger, causing blood to stream down my hand and arm. I looked the strange lady in her beady eyes, and saw… that she was grinning.
I ran as fast as I could to get my mom and some form of help. She was talking with an employee about fish flakes, I think… since they were next to the fish tanks.

Freaking out, I told them about the evil woman, and all three of us moved to the front of the store. The lady had just finished a transaction with another employee. Seeing us approach, she sprinted away in a blur of acid-washed jeans, holding her new pet. The guinea pig. I witnessed her put it in a big cage in the back of a rusted pickup truck, which was parked by the curb. Her tires screeched like demon banshees of the night as she sped off.

Luckily, I didn’t need stitches.