Big 50 – Volume 1: Pets

First blog post of my Big 50 Challenge!

The subject, as you can see by the heading, is pets.  I actually don’t have any pets at this point in my life, unless I can count the dozens of geckos that live in the brickwork around my building, and the family of magpies I sneak tidbits to when they fly down from their home in the macadamia tree next door.

But I have always had pets in my life, right since I can remember.  The first I remember was an Australian Terrier named Muffin, I think my parents got him before I was born.  He had some kind of allergy and had no hair except for his head.  He was kinda funny looking but we loved him to bits.

We had a succession of budgies, in particular I remember a blue one we got when I was about 9 from a lady that worked with my Mum, and the lady told Mum that (and please excuse the terrible phrase she used) “He’s a bit spastic, he’ll die in a week.”  He lived until I was well into my 20’s, which is a lifespan almost unheard of in a budgie!  I was also given a silver one for a birthday when I was 8 that I called Chook and hand trained.  She didn’t know she was a bird and thought she was human.

We had various goldfish too, I remember having one I named Rover.  I think Muffin ate it.  He ate several of them in fact, we used to have to put covers made out of pantyhose over the tank to stop them from flipping out all the time.

When I was about 5, I hauled home a stray cat from the streets (I kind of ran wild as a kid), and demanded to keep it, so my mother had it vaccinated and spayed, only for it to die the next week!  I was so distraught apparently my Nanna gave me a little ginger kitten I insisted on naming Jenny.  She was a cranky old girl and not very fond of anyone unless there was food involved, but I loved her anyway.  She lived to a very ripe old age too, and we lost her when I was in my early 20’s.

In my mid teens, we got a little dog, supposedly a mini fox terrier, but she came out 95% chihuahua, that we named Cleo.  She was such a funny little sausage.  So much personally wrapped up in less than 2kg of dog.  She didn’t like men much, could be a cranky little bugger when she felt like it, but her warm little body and her snorgles whenever I was feeling down made up for her crankiness.  She died a few years ago now at my mother’s house, and I dream of her a lot, very vivid dreams where she comes to visit me, and I can smell her clean fur and warm body in my dreams.

My brother had a dog that lived with my mother for most of his life.  His name was Petrol, and he was a kelpie/blue heeler cross.  He was the dumbest smart-dog I ever met.  He was brilliant, could obey hand, whistle and voice commands, worked out how to undo both a chain clip AND a D-bolt to get off his chain, learned how to steal strawberries and grapes right where they were growing and a gazillion other things, but he would do the stupidest things.  Run smack into you, or into parked cars, the side of the house or any other stationary object.  He wouldn’t believe you’d thrown a ball for him, even though it could be clearly seen.  He’d cry with frustration trying to sit on your lap, which he was far, far too big for.  But he was also loving and protective, he adored kids and would cry until you let him sniff a visiting baby, and knew just the right moments to stand at our side if he didn’t trust visitors to the house.  His favourite thing in the world was to have his back scratched just above his tail with one of those plastic spaghetti scoop thingies.

As an independent adult, I’ve only had birds, I had a couple of lovebirds.  The first one was a peach face named Bob and friends thought he was going to die, so I took him to give him a happy life no matter how short it was.  He lived about 12 years.  He learnt to yell my name in my mother’s voice when I was still living with her, and I would hear this cranky “Kathleen!” come from the kitchen in the middle of the night.  After I’d had him for about a year, we found a baby blue masked lovebird hanging off his cage one morning and caught it.  He kept busting out of the cage time and time again, so I named him Harry after Harry Houdini.  He was never quite… right.  I think he might have never grown out of that baby stage.

You know the sad thing?  I don’t have digital versions of any of the photos of my pets.  I haven’t got a scanner at home any more so I can’t whip up a few to add to this post.  I will have to dig some out of the albums and scan them for another day.

I’d like to have pets again, but just now my life isn’t very suitable for them.  I’m hardly home, travel when I can and work long hours.  But when my life changes and it’s suitable to have them again, I’ll get a cat or a dog or something.

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October 25, 2010. Big 50, birds, cats, dogs, pets.

One Comment

  1. sweetnfat replied:

    So great to learn about your pets! I’m sure the next animal you have will live a very happy, loved life. Thought about any names yet? (I love hearing about pet names.)

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