My brother, Dave, and sister-in-law, Diana, have some unusual pets these days. There are the African underwater frogs in the aquarium, the two Russian tortoises who hibernate/live in their San Diego garden, and, most recently, Sammy the rat who resides in a Habitrail when not enjoying the company of humans. In these photos, Diana demonstrates the chubby rodent’s ingenuity as she steals ice from Diana’s beverage. Beloved companion animals come in more shapes and sizes than simply dogs and cats. Why can’t I get that Michael Jackson song, “Ben,” out of my head just now…?—Sid

Diana and Sammy

















Boxer and Little Girl