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When they were married, an Atlanta couple had so many pets that they lost count

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's Friday and time for StoryCorps. As a kid, Christy Stewart begged her parents for pets. Her mom said no. She told Christy that when she grew up, she could have all the animals she wanted, which she took to heart. For more than two decades, Christy and her husband, Glenn, collected so many pets in their Atlanta home, they lost count.

GLENN TURNER: We've had all kinds of animals. We've had doves, possums. We've had a goat.

CHRISTY STEWART: In the city limits of Atlanta. We bottle fed him and named him Billy.

TURNER: Put a diaper on him.

STEWART: A pull-up.

TURNER: So it would slide off when...

STEWART: Yeah, it went to the bathroom.

TURNER: We would know when we needed to replace it.

STEWART: Right. But it was a very special goat.

TURNER: Why did you buy the cat?

STEWART: Because I was lonely.

TURNER: I was gone for, I think, two days, maybe three (laughter).

STEWART: It didn't take long.

TURNER: It was the - I forget his name now, the ball python we had.

STEWART: Sting (ph).

TURNER: Sting, of course.

STEWART: And then our son Ben (ph) had a wharf rat. He got huge.

TURNER: A big rat.

STEWART: Actually, it was really intimidating, but he was the sweetest thing on the planet until...

TURNER: We went out of town one weekend, and...

STEWART: Right. Our son thought it would be a good idea to leave his rat and his cockatiel.

TURNER: He wanted to let the both of them be social.

STEWART: Gosh.

TURNER: Yeah. We came back to a headless bird. It was pretty traumatic. But we also had this little Chihuahua. Oh, boy.

STEWART: Oh, Nemo (ph).

TURNER: I could have killed that dog on many occasions.

STEWART: He would pee on your pillow.

TURNER: He would pee on my pillow.

STEWART: He was precious to me. But I understand.

TURNER: I have to say, your love for animals made me have a deeper love for you. It transferred to people, too. You really have a calmness about you that taught me that around animals, too. And you treat them with respect. And I remember a time where we were just going through a rough time, like all couples do, and it was sort of a low point for us. And there's this abandoned baby deer.

STEWART: Oh, yeah. That was about 10 years ago. The mother was nowhere around.

TURNER: Mother was nowhere around. Said we got to leave it; we got to leave it.

STEWART: We just had to trust that he would be OK.

TURNER: Yeah. We had to trust the future, trust each other...

STEWART: Right.

TURNER: ...Trust ourselves. And...

STEWART: It was quite a journey, and it's been a wonderful journey since.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: Christy Stewart and Glenn Turner. They recorded for StoryCorps back in 2016. Their marriage ended not long after, and both remarried but stayed in each others', and their animals', lives. Today, Christy and her new husband have just three dogs. Glenn's wife is allergic to animals. So am I. This conversation is archived at the Library of Congress. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Zanna McKay