Animal magnetism: People show off pets at Macon museum

Nine-year-old Alana Eavenson knows many people think she has an unusual pet.

“I get that a lot,” she says with a shrug as Anakin, a 5-month-old gray rat scurries around her arm.

Rats actually make good pets, said Alana, who was entering Anakin in the Museum of Arts and Sciences annual pet show Sunday.

“Most people think they’re nasty, but they’re not. They’re very clean animals,” she said, noting that rats don’t even have a smell. “He’s a low maintenance pet, really.”

Pets of all shapes and sizes showed up at the pet show, including a variety of dogs, a group of miniature horses and even a goat. Children signed up to walk their pets around a ring, and shaved ice, popcorn and cookies were available to munch on while admiring the pets.

Belinda Tabler and her children brought three miniature horses to the show. The Tablers breed and raise about 15 miniature horses on their 10-acre farm in Cochran.

“We like to share the minis,” Tabler said as she held the leash on Thumbelina, a 3-year-old black pinto dwarf. “I think a lot of people don’t know enough about the minis.”

The average size of a miniature horse is between 24 and 38 inches, Tabler said.

“You can do anything with them,” she said. “You can take a walk with them.”

The family volunteers their miniatures horses for therapy and takes them to nursing homes and schools for special-needs children. The horses’ calm demeanor and small size make them good therapy pets, Tabler said.

A few feet away from the miniature horses, 7-year-old Anna Massey was eager to show what kind of tricks Mimi, a golden doodle, could do.

“She’s part golden retriever and part poodle,” Anna explained before urging Mimi, 2, to jump up.

When the fluffy white dog put her paws on Anna’s shoulders, she was bigger than the girl.

Mimi could also sit and run in a circle. But there are some tricks she can’t do yet.

“She doesn’t know how to roll over,” Anna said.

To contact writer Jennifer Burk, call 744-4345.