My First Best Friend




“They are special treats for the snails.” Mum told me as she scattered the gardens with small green pellets.

I was about 4, and I was thrilled that my Mum was looking after all my friends so well.

Most people had a childhood bestie, but my besties were all of the creatures that lived in our garden, in the creek at the end of the street and in the paddocks opposite our house.

I was, and still am, an obsessive animal lover. I could not pass a cat or dog without giving them a cuddle and having a lengthy chat with them. This was, of course, back in the day where dogs roamed the streets with no collars and rooted each other with such vigour, that there were always puppies to play with as well.

It was not unusual to discover a cat with a litter of newborn kittens in the cubby house at any time of the year.

Apart from the snails, I had an obsession with lady beetles. In the paddock opposite our joint grew a certain type of plant that the lady beetles flocked to. I would get an ice-cream container and go across, collect a couple of hundred to adopt, and re-home them in my dolls house. From there, I would select a couple that looked intelligent and robust and start a training program with them. I had dream to become the first Lady Beetle Circus Ringmaster.

There best trick was wasting the tight-rope. Their worst was high platform diving.

And then there were the tiny guppies that swam in the creek. My obsession with them was short lived. Once I collected a huge bucket of them and left them at the back door, as I tried to think about logistically keeping a gazillion little fish.

Our dog, a huge golden labrador called Sam, came back from no doubt doing some vigorous rooting, and rooting was thirsty work.

Thus ended the guppies.

As I grew, I began to learn to read. And you could imagine my horror when I actually deciphered the words on the side of the special treats from my darling snails….



I felt dirty. Tricked and lied to by my own mother. Something need to happen, which is when I started my Snail Rescue Service. I would spy as mum would spread her evil poison of death and then swoop.

I worked quickly, collecting each snail and depositing them into the bucket. Once I was sure everyone had been saved, and no one was left behind, they too joined the Lady Beetle Circus in my Dolls House. And then my room started to move, with escaped beetles and snails until Mum came in and told me that enough was enough, and could I please take all my friends across the road to the paddock and set them free. And that we had a perfectly good dog and cat to play with.

And that is the story of my first ten thousand besties.


Joining up with Kerri Sackville’s My First Series.