Supported Living

Pet Ownership Supports Independence

January 6, 2016
Sean lifts up the hermit crab habitat to see what it's doing
Sean lifts up the hermit crab habitat to get a closer look at what it’s doing.

Sean is a hermit crab expert. He knows everything there is to know about the creatures. He had raised them in the past when he was younger, but when he got one from his grandparents as an early Christmas gift, his new pet became the first one he cared for independently at the apartment building in which he lives as part of the Supported Living program. “I have had other pets before, like dogs and cats,” says Sean. “But they take a lot more work than a hermit crab.”

“Sean is very enthusiastic and dedicated to ensuring his pet’s health and wellness,” says Alethea Hansen, site supervisor at the apartment building in which Sean lives. “Sean is independent in the care of his pet and we are proud of this independence.”

“They are really easy pets to take care of,” says Sean. “You need to change their bedding every few months and feed them every day. Other than that, it just hangs out in its cage. They are tropical animals, so they like it to be nice and warm.” Sean took the crab out of its habitat for a close-up view, but it decided to be shy and stay in its shell. “Occasionally, they might pinch you, but you don’t have to worry about them getting out and running away like a cat or a dog.” Sean admits he doesn’t have a name for the pet yet, but he’s been thinking about one. “He just molted out of his shell and into this new one. That was pretty cool to watch.”

Sean has participated in the Supported Living program since 2011. He moved around a few times while growing up and his family eventually moved to Columbia when he was 13. Sean graduated from Rock Bridge High School in 2006 and has been working at Central Missouri Subcontracting Enterprises (CMSE) for the last year. In his free time, besides taking care of the hermit crab, he likes to watch movies and the Dr. Who TV show, and shops online to add to his impressive collection of miniature Volkswagen bus models and other collectibles.