It was practically a farm.
We always had a number of dogs and both outside and inside cats. Kittens seemed to be a staple in our house and I can't remember what cats we had when or how many times my dad and I stood outside of the grocery store giving away the mewing furballs. And that's not to mention the many times my friend Rachel would find a cat or dog wandering stray and convince us to adopt it.
Two cockatiels called our house their home for a chunk of time. Zulu, an adult cockatiel showed up on our roof one evening when I was maybe 7 or 8 and started whistling. We put an ad in the paper for a found bird with his photo since someone clearly taught him to whistle, but no one ever claimed him. And now that I think about it, Zulu is kind of a racist name. My mom named him that because she thought he looked like a Zulu warrior.
But Zulu was a biter. He'd bit you whenever you wanted to take him in or out of his cage or feed him. So a bird trainer (or something like that) told my parents he needed a female to "tame" him. So they got a female named Sparkle. What a dumbass name right? Anyway, she was a royal bitch. The meanest damn bird I'd ever met in my life and have yet to meet. Plus she was constantly laying infertile eggs that she'd abandon and we'd have to fish out of her cage with those gloves people who train police dogs wear.
But I guess it worked in a sense because Zulu became super sweet. When she died, he was like relieved! He's still alive and always whistles at me when I call my dad.
Then there were the chickens and ducks. We had a duck pond which we had to keep separate from the chickens because, you know, chickens can't swim. So there was a fence between them. The ducks would fly over to see the chickens but, clearly, the fat bitties couldn't fly over to the duck pond. Except for one stupid chicken who really, really wanted to be a duck. Loved the ducks. Kept climbing (seriously) over the fence to be with the ducks. Finally she climbed over and tried to swim with them and drowned. It was so sad, but really, she was so damned stupid it was bound to happen.
I also had a horse. Okay, scoff. Get it all out now. I know I know, every little girl wants a horse. But I wasn't a little rich girl or anything. I started riding when I was 18 months old at my cousin Annamaria's horse ranch and when I got old enough, my aunt and uncle helped my parents get me a horse.
Root Beer Float (I named him that) had been mistreated and malnourished and we "took him off the hands" of some people that couldn't afford him. Really it's better that they sold him and they should have done that long before. There was another horse there that was so starving, he'd chewed off Root Beer's tail. Don't worry, it grew back.
|This isn't Root Beer. This is Star, my cousin's horse|
We also had an aviary, that my Uncle Steve built, of doves right outside my bedroom window. Some of my best memories are waking up to the cooing of doves. But of course the aviary wasn't exactly professionally built so doves were constantly escaping and random little birds were always coming in and eating the food. My dad hated that damn thing. It became the bane of his life. By the time I moved out at 18, I think there was only one dove left.
Then there were the rabbits and hamsters and guinea pigs. We didn't have the hamsters for long because I'm pretty sure one of our cats kept eating them. But my parents told me they just fell down and died. Right. How stupid did they think I was?
And coyotes kept coming up on our porch trying to eat our rabbits. But my dad moved one of our tougher dogs to the back porch and he'd protect them.
And the guinea pigs. Oh how I hate guinea pigs. They're all cute and all. But the squeal. The goddam squeal, the SQUEE SQUEE SQUEE that only guinea pigs make and do all day and night for absolutely no reason whatsoever.
I almost didn't share that video. The sound makes me so irritated. But I needed to share the horror with you. I can still imitate the sound too. If you get me drunk, I'll happily do it for you. I can also imitate Howler Monkeys, in case you're wondering.
What animals did you have? Or did you grow up animal-less?