Yesterday I got poor Charlie’s cage out of the cupboard for a scrub. It’s now the travel cage, and I want it spotless before I put any of the other birds inside…
Yeah, it’s been awhile, but I still miss him every day. I thought I’d do a bit of a sappy post in memory of my favourite pets, the ones that have impacted my life. It’s not really my normal kind of post, I know. But these creatures meant a great deal to me. I have owned animals my entire life, and will never be without them.
To someone who has never known the love and trust of an animal, they are missing something. Those quotes about missing part of their soul until they have loved an animal? Maybe it’s true. (And, on that note, the moment I found out O. had never had a pet, I became determined that he would.)
It is after that that I run out of photos. There were pets before then, ever since I was a baby. One of my earliest memories is sitting on the back of my mother’s appendix quarter horse, Sneakers – named because she was a ‘sneak attack’ and somehow managed to work her way into the trailer with the horse they were actually there to buy. I laughed and giggled and had no fear of the long way down because I knew that Sneakers would keep me safe.
That was my earliest lesson – to respect and trust in equal measures. Sneakers watched over me. When I ‘helped’ my mother rub her down, the mare kept an eye me as I wove around her legs. If I went under her belly, she always stayed very still, straining her neck to try and see between her knees.
And my next lesson came from my cats and dogs: gentleness and responsibility. I learned how to take care of them, how to respect their privacy, and never to pull tails and whiskers! Sometimes my child self had to learn the hard way, with scratches and hurt feelings. They were all lessons worth teaching a child.
And now the birds have taught me about many more things, especially the idea that their love and trust are earned, not automatic. As with other humans, they can forgive, but they do not forget. You can ‘blow it.’ But their trust is worth it.
I think just about every child should have a pet; every person should know the unconditional love of a dog, cat, or horse (or the hard-earned love of a bird).