But me? Never. That sensitive animal-loving gene most certainly escaped me.
This is why I am suddenly surprised to find myself in the midst of a relative menagerie. There have always been the chickens, of course. But they stick to the out of doors and have not bothered me too much. Plus, these pets actually give quite a bit back in the form of organic eggs.
Next were the goldfish that Santa left under the Christmas tree. We have had three at various times, but Freddy keeps dying. The pet store may not have enough replacements. Annike wants to know if we stop naming him "Freddy" if he will stop disappearing?
Somewhere along the way we began to feed Farrell cats, one of which is about to leave a litter of kittens in our barn.
Last weekend a starving parakeet flew into the yard, and of course we had to bring it inside and offer it some food... and some love... and a home.
This week we are bird-sitting my parents' pet Cockateel. Between the two birds, our living room sounds like a tropical rainforest. And looks like a pet store.
A Redtail hawk has been looking for a way into our hearts and seems to have adopted our front yard as a hang-out. He is not the least bit perturbed by our presence as he sits directly outside our living room window. There is no doubt that he has been in contact with humans before. While he is helpfully chipping away at the ground squirrel population, he has an awfully friendly eye on our chickens. One of them is now missing half of her tail.
My mom always said that she didn't want pets because people get attached to pets. Then pets die. Fortunately, Annike seems to have a good farm-girl's understanding about the death of animals, so this is not the issue I am having with the pets.
The thing that troubles me is all of the responsibility. I am pretty much up to my eyes in responsibility and I am not sure I can add another feeding schedule to the list. The last thing I need is one more mess-maker in the house.
........................................................................................................Since I started writing this post, a few things have changed. First, we gave both of the birds to my parents. That was a huge break for my living room, but a disappointment for Sommer who got the most joy out of seeing Joey-bird on my shoulder.
The next thing that happened was the Ferrell cat we call "Calico Kitty" did not show up for her feeding one night. We went hunting... and found a litter of 4 tiny kittens stashed in some of what Christian considers "barn art" (ie: something old that may resemble junk to other people).
Anyone want a handful of 2-day old kittens?!
I think I might be suckered into keeping one. After all, every good farm needs a good barn cat. It's the kids' fault... they get so darned excited about the sweet cuddly baby animals. I am in denial. I don't know how it happened. But I think we now have pets.