I'm not an animal person. Growing up I loved our cat, and my bird, Kitty (who obviously predated the much-pleaded-for feline) but now that I'm the one principally responsible for all matters of nutrition and hygiene, pets aren't quite so appealing. We recently waved an unceremonious good-bye to Tinkerbell Boy, the beta fish who occupied a bowl on our kitchen counter for the past year. We're also fostering the cockatiel we were sure my mom wanted for Christmas last year. The cage is beautiful and the bird is sweet, so we don't mind taking care of him until she decides she wants him back. But above is a photo of our dilemma.
His name is Jiminy Frog (though we're pretty sure he's a toad). Alyssa and Parker brought him home from a camping trip with their grandparents last summer. I didn't have the heart to make them say good-bye right away, but I wasn't exactly prepared for how long he would be staying. By the time we realized the aphids from our garden weren't going to prevent him from starving to death, it was wintertime. I don't know a lot about toads, but I feared that sending him outdoors in inclement weather might be an immediate death sentence. So stay he did. And I started making weekly trips to the pet store to purchase live crickets. Now this non-animal-lover was left to care for a fish, a bird, a toad, and varying numbers of insects (albeit briefly!). As the weather has improved, my desire to see Jiminy fend for himself has increased. Yesterday we decided to give him a little test run outside to see how well he could still hop, or ideally, hunt. He wasn't too sure what to think of his new found freedom, and his hops were a little more tentative than I would have hoped for. Sadly, I think that something might be wrong with his front legs. They just don't seem to fold up the way they should. So, dear readers, this is where you come in. There has to be at least one animal lover or two out there among you. What should I do with this silly toad? Is it more compassionate to release him, or to continue with the hand-delivered insects? Mr. Google says he could live up to 9 years! Am I really in for another 468 weeks of cricket deliveries? Please help!