Benjy is a lover of all creatures. He is especially tender toward those that others revile -- the winged, scaled, slimy, and crawly constituencies. (We may have another E.O. Wilson on our hands -- which would be okay, actually.)
Ben finds beauty in almost anything. Corn snake? Gorgeous. Crocodile? What a winning smile. Earthworm? So. Darn. Cute.
And he's a little anxious about MY take on these forsaken beings.
"Mom, isn't that tarantula cute? Don't you just WANT one?"
"But you think he's CUTE, right?"
"Okay, so you don't think he's cute. But you RESPECT HIM AS AN ANIMAL, don't you?"
It's hard not to crack up when he says that. I usually tell him I respect all animals, blah blah blah, but I don't necessarily want to see all animals up close. This is very disappointing to him.
"So does this mean I can't get a pet tarantula?" he asks me.
"I'm afraid it does."
"Fine, but what about a snake? Or could I raise preying mantisses?"
At this point I usually just give up and go cuddle with the dog. At least some people around here appreciate warm-blooded pets, even those of the Hellacious variety.