Share Six: February 2022: Pets

{Pets} are what I love and this is the theme for February, was chosen for us by Lynne Grant Photography.

Pets I have grown up with, and grown older with. I don’t want to say grown old just yet but some days I feel like that. I was fortunate growing up that my parents were happy to have my strays and we collected quite a few.

Over the years we had a Daschund, Noddy, that was my dearest friend. We had a cross Labrador spaniel, Monty, that loved to chase cars. One day the car got the better of him and sadly he did not make it. We had two Labradors, a black called Duke, and a golden called Sandy. There was the unforgettable story of the rabbit that my brother was given. The rabbit was found cold, and apparently my father thought to put it in the oven to warm it up and potentially revive it. Nope, did not work. Next time my brother saw the gift giver, he told the person that his daddy had put the rabbit in the oven. Obviously explanations were made, but out of the mouths of babes and all that. My dad did not live that story down. Somewhere in the midst of this we had a budgie and I am sure there was a fish or two.

In addition to the above, there were the pets we found in the garden. We found a guinea pig. It was in the days my brother had music lessons. Off we went to the music lessons, dropped him at the music school and went directly to the local pet shop. They identified the guinea pig as a smooth haired male. And they sold us another male. I was so excited. Off we went home. My dad built a hutch for me and I played with the pets, until one day I discovered that my purchased male was getting fat and before I knew it there were nine of them. Both mom and dad were both smooth haired guinea pigs, but the babies clearly had a different looking father because I had a bunch of tufted guinea pigs, Abyssinian guinea pigs. They were cute to look and for a while to play with, but I soon developed an allergy to their hair. I have to be honest I quickly outgrew the cleaning of 11 smelly guinea pigs, so they were all rehomed to new and exciting homes.

Then we had the Bushbaby that we found in the garden. Wikipedia tells me that bushbabys are the following: Galagos, also known as bush babies, or nagapies, are small nocturnal primates native to continental, sub-Sahara Africa, and make up the family Galagidae. They are considered a sister group of the Lorisidae. According to some accounts, the name “bush baby” comes from either the animal’s cries or its appearance. 

Our bushbaby was the cutest little thing. My dad built a cage for him and he lived outside. We had to catch insects for him to eat. That became tiresome after a while. Those days we did not have the internet or we would have known to feed him pellets etc. I have recollections of him being let loose in the living room of the house and he would make his way up to the pelmets (I think the USA word is cornice) and snuggle down on one of the beer mugs that sat on the pelmet (Yeah I know, who has beer mugs on their pelmets – apparently my mother). I also recall that it peed on me alot. Suffice to say, with the struggle of catching insects and not really knowing what to feed him we decided to take him to a local zoo.

The last interesting animal that I recall having, while living with my folks, was a tortoise. He wandered into the garden and we decided to let him stay. However, he drove the Labradors crazy when he disappeared into his shell. He eventually found his way to a wildlife center.

After Richard and I got married we purchased a German Shepherd with a pedigree longer than that of royalty. Flash was an incredible dog and was definitely an asset to our family. We lived on an acre of property and he was a great deterrent to any would be unwelcome visitor.

Richard’s mom moved in with us and along with her came Bella, a cross Labrador Rottweiler. She looked like a Rottweiler but had the Labrador personality. When both those dogs died (practically at the same time), we got what was supposed to be an Alsatian, Sasha, but I honestly think she was 57 varieties. I also got another Daschund from the pound. Well he looked like a Daschund in shape but was Jack Russell in coloring. I also called him Noddy. Someone left the gate open one day and poor Noddy got out on the road, and did not survive that experience.

We then got Mika (Cameron named him after the racing driver). He was a stunning white German Shepherd. Mika got in close contact with Sasha, and before we knew it we had 10 additional pups. I thought it would be a great birth education for the kids and they would see the puppies being born. Sadly all those puppies were born while the kids were at school. Feeding, inoculations and vets visits and then they were off to new homes.

We had two cockatiels as well. One Richard and I bought. It was gray and white. I cannot remember what we named it. It died a few years later. My dad had caught one in their back garden. It was white and yellow. When our cockatiel died, dad gave us his. We had it for about a year. Amy opened his cage door and he flew away.

We had a couple of hamsters along the way. Cameron reminded me that his was called Rambo. We could not remember Amy’s hamsters name but I do remember Amy calling me at work to tell me that her hamster had worms. All 8 of them. Fortunately we were able to rehome them.

At one point in time Amy wanted a cat. She had been really sick with a weird viral infection that affected all her joints and she begged for a cat. So while she was staying with my mom for the holidays, Richard and I headed out to the pet shop and bought her a tuxedo cat. After much debate he was named Oliver.

Oliver

Oliver was one of our best pets. He was our African cat. He was loveable and my best friend. When we moved to the USA, we could not bring the dogs, but I pushed for Oliver to come with. Richard thought I was wasting money, but I just could not part with him. So I bought him a dog box, so that he would be able to stand and move around somewhat, got all his shots done, paperwork in order, did all my homework, and Oliver was ready to travel with us. I still remember traveling to the airport thinking, what if I cannot put him on the plane. I told my friend that if I couldn’t, I needed him to give Oliver a home. At the airport things went smoothly, Oliver was given a slight sedative, and taken to the hold. 18 hours later, when after we went through immigrations, who was waiting there for me to go home, but my beautiful happy cat.

We had Oliver for almost 17 years. He saved my life the first few years in the USA. I was not allowed to work. I was the only one home all day, in a foreign country, knowing no one initially. Oliver became my best bud. We would hang out together. I would talk to him and play with him. Oh I loved that little man. He was a cuddler. In his last few years he developed diabetes and had to be given insulin twice a day after he had eaten. It became very stressful when he would not eat and some days had me begging for him to have his food so he could have his life saving shots. 3 years after diagnosis his health declined until one day he had a fit. That was the hardest day of my life. I hated making the decision to say goodbye but I know that his quality of life was no longer what it should have been. My eyes were red for a good week, and even now, I still miss this beautiful man

Oliver was the last cat I actually bought. The rest I have inherited.

Moonshine aka Ms Muff

Moonshine came to us via Cameron. His girlfriend at the time, decided that she wanted this cat. She forgot to ask her parents if the cat could stay there. The answer was no and so she came to stay with us. She was a sweet little girl. She loved to lie on my desk next to me while I was working and put her paw on my arm. I loved the little girl but she was not Richards best friend. She overlapped with the next cat and I think due to her being their first, she took to marking her territory, all over the house and he was not happy about that. For the sake of our marriage, Ms Muff had to go. It broke my heart to say goodbye to her.

In 2015, Amy moved to Gainesville. She lived in a house opposite a Barber shop. Every morning the owner would come outside and put mounds of pellets on the floor to feed the wild cats. It was one of those days when I was staying up there that I spotted this cat across the way. I had my camera in my hand and so I snapped a couple of pics of him.

Simba – Stretching exercises in the warmth of the sun

Little did I know that 6 months later she would call me and say “mom you have to take this cat. I have been feeding him and I cannot leave him on the street”. Amy was joining the Peace Corp and traveling to Macedonia. I was not certain. I was worried that the cat was feral. However, I drove up to fetch her and all her belongings and who came home with us but this random cat. I had gone outside to the street level and sat on the patio step and who should wander over but the cat she wanted me to take home. He walked up the steps, sat on my lap and my decision was made. Simba has a clipped ear to indicate that he had been sterilized and put back on the street. This little guy was not feral. In fact, soul brother to Oliver, he has turned out to be the most loving cat, and definitely a favorite of mine. Life on the street does come with disadvantages. Simba’s teeth are yucky. However, just as we were preparing to sort his teeth out (literally on the table with a catheter down his throat), we discover that he has some kind of lung disorder not unlike asthma in a human. Multiple x-rays later and enormous vet bills. it appears that this condition is for his lifetime., He has been on steriods for 2 years now. Simba has been with us almost 7 years now and I hope he is around for a lot longer. This is my cuddle cat. He is my shadow. He sleeps on the couch in my office during the day, and he cuddles into me in the bed at night. He may have found a home, but I found a friend in this little man. Actually as I am writing this, I have Luka (our grandson) on the couch sleeping and not far from him is Simba. Just a pillow in-between.

Simba

About 3 years ago now, Mirrabelle (aka Ms Moo) came to stay. She belonged with a lady who lived with us for 3 months. The lady moved out but Ms Moo stayed. To look at her you would think she looks like a opossum. That is if you ever see her. She is such a nervy cat that it has taken all 3 years for her to get used to Richard and I, and to actually come out and spend time with us. However, my son-in-law does not believe she lives with us because the minute anyone outside of Richard or myself step through that door, she is in her hiding place under my bed. In the last year she has become more attached to me. She will come and lie on my stomach at night when I am reading on my couch, or she will lie next to me in Simba’s spot on the bed. That typically results in a tussle and off she goes. I have had her refuse to give up her new spot to Simba and had Simba sleep on my stomach all night. One of her “safe” spaces is on the landing of the steps. Quite often I will find her lying there with her feet on the next step as you will see below. While she is very skittish, she definitely has the sweetest personality. If only she could gain some confidence.

Mirrabelle aka Ms Moo

Last but not least, so the saying goes, was Houdini. Houdini was a rescue Quaker Parakeet. I was heading back to my office in early March 2020, when I spotted all the staff standing around the entrance to the offices. What I discovered was rather a dazed parakeet clinging to the edge of the window sill. Clearly in trauma, I was able to stroke him gently without him biting me and then get him onto my hand. My idea was that I would take him to my personal office and then phone around and see if he had been reported missing. He took off from my arm and flew around the office, eliciting screams from those who do not like birds :). He finally landed on my chest and I decided I would take him back outside and let him fly off. Which clearly he didn’t do. So it was back to my office. Given that it was a long weekend, I had to transport him home. So I shot out to the local Pet store and bought him a small cage, and off we went home. Richard was not overly happy that we had another animal in the house but he hung in there. I kept checking but no one claimed Hoo, so he stayed.

He was named Houdini, because, as fast as I was trying to put him in my cage at the office, he was trying to escape. Over time Hoo graduated from a tiny cage to a bird palace, with all of the nuts and bolts including a bird jacuzzi size tub. He sure loved to splash in that.

Houdini or Hoo as I called him was a pain in the butt, but he was my pain in the butt. He was so cool when he wasn’t biting my ear. He would fly to my shoulder and hang out. By the end of the year, Hoo was dancing and making weird singing sounds. He was starting to copy me when I was laughing. He would have me in tears. His favorite muscian was Edith Piaf and he really love La vie en rose. I think it was the high notes that he enjoyed. That is when he got his dance on. One year later, shortly after Richard had been diagnosed with melanoma, Hoo, was acting kind of strange. I needed to get bird food, so I headed out to the shop. Got him some treats while I was there. When I came back I let him out the cage, but he seemed a little lethargic. I had him on my chest and when he moved I notice a whole lot of blood. Avian vets are few and far between and the only appointment I could get was an hour later. Hoo passed away in my arms, 15 minutes after I made the appointment. I miss the little bugger. I cried for days. The other day I found a feather stick to my shutters and it brought up all those memories of Hoo time. Parakeets are not easy, those beaks are nasty, but that little bird crept into my heart and took up residence.

Houdini

We have had a few other critters along the way. Amy had a hamster when we were first in the USA. I know I buried it in a tin in the garden. But I honestly don’t remember too much more about it. She also had two corn snakes. I am not a reptile fan, and I am not sure the snakes would have survived if they had got out of their cage. I was certainly super happy when they were rehomed. She also had two rats Arya and Xeno. I have to say it took a while but I did get used to them, and they never bit me like I thought they would do. She definitely took me out of my comfort zone with her pets. Thank goodness we never had a tarantula. That would have put me over the edge.

Someone brought me a duckling one time which I attempted to save. It was barely a couple of days old. I tried to feed it with a dropper, and I had it under a light to keep it warm but it did not survive. Someone else brought me a dove that they had rescued. Not sure what was going on with that dove, but something was not right with it. It could not fly properly. It used to sit on my shoulder and peck at my ears but if it took off it would fly straight into the ceiling. We thought we would take it outside and see if it would fly off. It flew alright, off the grass area to half way across the canal and landed in the water. I had Richard wading into the canal (which has gators I might add) to rescue the bird. We also rescued a baby turtle in the driveway. The kids were convinced that it would die if we put it into the canal, so I ended up buying a terrarium and building a turtle home with the idea of letting it grow a bit. Handling turtles is risky because they can carry salmonella so I got to do all the work. Eventually the turtle police (Richard and Amy) said it needed to be let go. Of course they wait until I have spent my money and then they make this decision. So Mr T as I called him was released into the canal.

If you haven’t gathered by now, I love animals. I get great joy having them around. Richard is less of a pet person. I told him that one day when he gets to heaven God is going to make him the keeper of all domestic animals.

To me animals bring immense love and comfort to so many, and I know over the years, ours have brought such comfort to us. They sense when they are needed. During my struggle with Richard’s illness Simba was my constant companion. When these animals come into my home, they become my family. Loosing anyone of them is like loosing someone I love dearly.

Thank you for joining us as we share the pets in our lives. We’d love to see your pets.

This is a circle blog and as I mentioned, we have some very talented ladies in the group. The sneak peaks are stunning and I cannot wait to see the rest. Take some time to follow the links and see what they have for you this month. My incredibly talented friend Ceri of Ceri Herd Photography up next is up next. I can’t wait to see what she has to share. You can see more of her work by clicking on her Facebook and  Instagram pages. Definitely check out her incredible art.

Come and share your images  Facebook and Instagram tagging #sharesix_pets

You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.

One Comment on “Share Six: February 2022: Pets

  1. Pingback: Share Six: February 2022: Pets | SHARE SIX

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