Monday, March 11, 2013

Families with Animals/Les Familles avec des Animaux

Good dog, Tuxy, is taking his morning nap in his bed, on the sofa by the window. He is wise beyond humans. It is pouring down rain and he has the very good sense not to stir out of doors or in until it becomes absolutely necessary. At 6am, he finds no reason to do anything but nestle down in his cushion and wait.

Le bon chien, Tuxy, fait sa sieste matinale dans son lit, sur le canapé, pres de la fenetre. Il est sage audela des etres humains. Il pleut des cordes et il a le bon sens de ne pas sortir jusqu'a ce que cela devient absolument necessaire.
When it is really cold, he will eschew even the window and head straight to the bed under the lizard and his warm lamp. Don't tell me he is not the smartest dog on earth.

I don't know about you, but my idea of a family was not complete without some sort of furry creature. We had cats in France, before the fated decision of leaving our beloved Simba behind until we had settled in here. My sleek, beautiful and so very patient black kitty, was adopted by my in-laws. We brought home a kitten only to discover that my cat allergy, always pretty much under control with a cat in the house, had developed and exploded during the 3 months without regular doses of cat hair, and I was a sloppy, bleary-eyed, sneezing mess. No more cats.

We tried a bird. He had no personality. Well, he had enough so that when he passed away the first night after buying him and we staged a stealth operation of "quick, buy a new budgie before the kids notice," they found the coloring to be quite different from what they had remembered from the day before. The dang thing looked like a perfect match to the adults, but, alas, children's eyes are sharper and not so easily fooled. Unfortunately, the only qualifiable personality trait the new bird had was that of biting fingers, not exactly endearing. 

Enter the rats, my childhood favorite alternative to a dog. Our darling rats; Socks, Kathrine and Mamito, were all good companions for the eighteen months they lived with us, one after another,  but allergies, this time Cate's, and  tragically short lives, were wrecking household peace. It is, perhaps, a very good lesson to learn when one is young, that we are all mortal, but learning it through losing your very best friend is perhaps, not as easy as I might have thought. My rational was that losing an animal was easier than losing a human. I will now admit to having judged too quickly on that question.

When we discovered cockatiels, we realized that the world of birds held so much more potential than I had ever realized. A hand-fed cockatiel that has been much played with and a little bit trained, is a treasure. They are small birds, which means less expense both in the beginning and long-term, yet they are of the parrot family, which means they are sociable and can be loving and caring even, with their humans. Enter Lucy, who followed Al, another pet tragedy. Lucy knows commands like; "step up, shoulder, cuddle," and "cheek front."She is a love of a bird. Her partner, Rexy, acquired later and at a time when the pet shop proprietors were very busy with Christmas puppies, was not given as much time and attention early in his life, and it shows. He can, however, whistle anything you teach him, and he is, like all pets, very happy to see and interact with humans when they take a minute for him.

The bird, however, did not replace the dog Charles and I felt was missing. T. had never had a dog, so he was unaware of those missing bits of fur. He is here now, our fuzzy friend with his endearing ways. He greets me like a long-lost love of his life if I leave the house for ten minutes. He throws his own ball (or carrot or radish) for himself when he is feeling playful and crazy. He will walk for an hour or run for 20 minutes with me. When he wants to go out, he sits very politely by the back door and looks at you. I do sort of wish he would quit digging like he is making a hole to China in the sofa and stop eating orthodontic retainers, but he is loved, nonetheless, a keeper. May you find your own furry, feathered or scaly friend in life.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for stopping by. I am always happy to hear from you! Please leave a comment and let me know how you feel about a post or add advice, anecdotes, etc. of your own.