I wouldn't classify myself as an animal lover.

I wouldn’t classify myself as an animal lover. Don’t misunderstand. I appreciate animals and acknowledge their rights. We have a dog and a cat at our house, and I’m OK with that.

I actually feed those pets sometimes. I had to do it while my wife and daughter were away over the weekend. I’m not willing to let them sleep in my bed like many pet owners, but it’s not like I’m kicking them down the hallway.

I petted both while the rest of the family was away. The cat reacted by sticking its tail up at me. The dog reacted by shedding all over me. I’m not sure whether those were signs of appreciation or signs that they couldn’t wait for the end of the weekend when the rest of the family would get home and they would no longer be in my care.

Some people have snakes as pets. I think that’s crazy. I don’t like snakes. Of course, I don’t think snakes like me, so we’re even.

The other day I was in a meeting when my wife sent me a text. Included was a picture of a snake that was in our yard – a rather large serpent probably about 3 feet in length. She was worried it was poisonous and asked me to identify it.

I looked at the picture. I identified it as a snake.

A little while later, she sent me a picture of another snake, a black one that was slithering across the yard and then took up a position in a flower bed in front of our house. Again, she asked me what type it was. I told her it was the creepy type.

We hadn’t seen a snake in our yard in two years, and then suddenly we had two in one day. We’re still walking in and out of the house on tip-toes. OK, well I am anyway.

Of course, it’s not like we found an alligator in our garage like Sharon and Allan Laque, who live on Coree Way west of Havelock. They had gone to the beach, and when they returned, discovered a 4-foot alligator had taken a liking to their garage. Granted a 4-foot alligator isn’t on the huge size, and the wildlife officers who captured it seemed pretty nonchalant about the whole ordeal. OK, but it’s an alligator. And, it’s in the garage.

I’m not sure what I would do if I ever found an alligator in my garage, but I’m pretty sure a trip to the bathroom and a change of clothes would follow in short order.

The wildlife officials said that alligator sightings are increasing, but if we see one, we shouldn’t panic.

Really? We shouldn’t panic if we see an alligator? Um, it’s an alligator. We nearly hunted them to extinction, and they know it. They’re out for revenge now.

An alligator doesn’t worry me as much as one of the most terrifying and lethal creatures I’ve ever seen – the cockroach.

I might panic if I see an alligator, but my flight reflex really kicks in when I see a roach. Just typing the word creeps me out. I can’t watch commercials for exterminating companies because seeing one on television causes me to shiver and turn away.

I consider myself somewhat intelligent, and my brain tells me that all I have to do is simply step on them or grab a can of bug spray and let them have it. But I have a phobia about those creatures, and I know how they think. They see me and are planning an attack. If one starts running toward me, I throw up the white flag of surrender and run the other way, screaming like a little girl during the whole escape.

You think I’m kidding? Ask my wife and my daughter, and they will tell you I’m not.

You would think our dog or cat would protect me. The cat just sticks up its tail, and the dog just sheds. Yep, it must be some sort of sign.

Ken Buday is the editor and general manager of the Havelock News. He can be reached at 635-5673 or at ken.buday@havenews.com.