My name is Toby Lee Spiegel and I have more than 60 years of experience taking care of animals. Most often the pets were rescued or adopted from a shelter. Throughout my life, I raised many large and small dogs including a Giant Alaskan Malamute, Labrador Retriever, Border Collie, German Shepherd, 4 Chihuahuas, and mixed breeds. Cats that I rescued were a white Persian, Maine Coon, Ragdoll, and Siamese. I had an African Grey Parrot (Sparky), Cockatiels, and Parakeets. My Giant Green Iguana was very comical and liked to roam around the house. My other reptile was a Forest Hinge-Back Tortoise. I owned 1 soft black female Holland Lop rabbit. Over the years I had a lot of tropical fish in my aquarium tanks including goldfish, angels, pearl gouramis, guppies, mollies, and many more. Some of the small animals included hamsters, guinea pigs, and a gerbil. I gained a lot of knowledge, experience, and skills while raising my animals and became well-known to my friends, family, and acquaintances for my expertise.
The neighborhood kids called my home a "zoo" and they would knock on my door asking if they could come inside to see my pets.
I was a Google Answers Researcher and answered more than 800 questions - many of them about animal care, wrote 2 eBooks about pets, and 75 articles about animals that teachers used to educate their students. On an older website, I was involved with The National Anti-Roadkill Project (NARP) in the early 1990s.
My experience with animals and fish started when I was a young child. My grandmother was living with us, and she was allergic to pet fur. Because I loved going to the zoo and watching all the animals, I asked my parents if I could have a dog. The answer was a resounding "No! Grandma is allergic to dogs". I asked if I could get a fish. Well, that was OK, and I soon acquired a goldfish. For me, it was the best pet a kid could ever have!
Years later, I owned 55-gallon aquariums with many fish. I didn't realize when I started how much work was involved, but it was peaceful watching them float around the tank. Better than watching TV!
My first dog I got from a friend whose border collie had puppies and she gave me 1 of the girls. I named her Poco. On a cold day, a stray cat came strolling into my backyard. I posted flyers everywhere and tried to find the owner. After a while, I realized no one was going to claim him, so I named him "Tom" - you know... Tom Cat. I figured he needed a sister, so I went to the pound and found a female Siamese cat up for adoption. We fell in love right away and I took her home, and named her Lady, from Lady and the Tramp.
A puppy followed my son home from school, and I was unable to find the owner. He was an Alaskan Malamute who grew into a giant dog weighing 175 pounds. He liked wandering around my huge enclosed backyard to munch on the strawberries growing along the fence. At the time I also had a wolfdog (German Shepherd and Wolf mix) named Hobbit. Hobbit liked to howl at the full moon. On a Thanksgiving afternoon I was making a turkey and opened the oven door to baste it. The turkey slid off the pan onto the kitchen floor! Yep, the dogs ran into the kitchen and within minutes the turkey meat was gone - just skin and bones. We ended up eating spaghetti on Thanksgiving!
My friend owned a pet shop and gave me a 5-inch long green iguana who I named Zeus. He grew to 6 feet long from nose to tail. I built him an iguana condo in my dining room with oak wood, glass sliding doors, Astroturf, heat, light, ramps, and tall plants with branches. At night I covered Zeus with a towel, and he quickly fell asleep.
I rescued my African gray parrot Sparky when she was a baby. She learned to speak only 1 word. When she was in her cage, Zeus would roam the house and as he walked by her cage she would shout "HALLO!" I now have a rescued Chihuahua - Karma Baby - she sleeps with me at night, and during the winter no heater is needed... she radiates warmth!
Many people from around the world go to AnimalsGuru.com to read high-quality articles and find information about their companion animals. I'm glad I can provide this for them.