Sunday Post: Pet

I am a little late with this one but life sometimes has a way of getting you sidetracked.

Pet – what a theme.

My first pet was a budgie. I lived with my Auntie Rita and she thought that something small would be the way to go. As with all animals the budgie died. That is probably the saddest part about sharing your life and your home with animals…their short lifespan in comparison to ours.

Yet for all the tears and physical pain I have felt at their passing, the joy of their willingness to love me and be part of my life has always surpassed those dreadful days.

I was quite young when my budgie died. I came home from school one day to find him lying cold and stiff on the bottom of his cage. At nine I figured that if only I could warm him up everything would be all right. So in to the oven he went. I was back living with my mother by then and she came home to a kitchen smelling of burnt feathers and a tear sodden child who was convinced she had murdered her bird by fire.

Cremation. The family oven is NOT the best place for that. It was a wonder I did not burn down the house as the budgie caught fire.

Life at Mum’s place was filled with animals. Birds, dogs, ferrets.

My favourite brother Ian has a special way with animals. It has fascinated me since I was a child to watch the way they respond to him. He would spend hours in his room under the bed covers with a bird until it never left his shoulder.

He had a ferret (my brothers ALL had ferrets), but Ian’s spent hours tucked against his belly under his shirt. We had a para poll in one of our houses, and one of the ways Ian would exercise the ferret was to let him have a swim.

He asked me one day to give the ferret his swim in the pool. Silly silly boy. I put the ferret in the pool and as young children are wont to do I got distracted. When I remembered the ferret the poor animal was clinging exhausted with his claw hooked in to the plastic trying desperately NOT to drown.

I really hope Ian is NOT reading this post…I never told him about my almost killing his pet.

We had births, and deaths, and I learned many things from these companions.

I learned it is also possible to dislike an animal.

For some unremembered reason we had a Shetland pony at one stage. It was the most evil tempered beast ever born and terrified me.

I learned that they are faithful.

Skipper taught me that. Skipper was a blue cattle dog that was another brother’s pet. When my brother was away from home for a time Skipper did something that I still find remarkable. Another brother…who was also a rather evil tempered beast drove Skipper hundreds of kilometres from our home in Sydney and dumped him.

Skipper found his way home. Bloody and tired he lay down on our front porch, still willing to lick the hand of the monster who had put him through all of that.

I learned that death is painful for those left behind. But that there is always a part of your heart that can love even when it feels broken and shattered. You just have to let it.

I share my heart and my home with four animals these days.

But those that have passed through my life are still there. Their photos remind me of their faces…my memories remind me of their souls…and my heart reminds me of their love.

Some have stayed with me for years…others just weeks.

ALL have left a mark that I will carry with me for ALL of my days.

And I am grateful for that gift.

These are a few of those amazing souls…the souls that have taught me about selflessness, compassion, and the gift of unconditional love.

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  1. I love your selection of pets, Jo. How can you be terrified of a Shetland pony, though?, I have to ask. I’ve always loved horses and had a Shetland pony to start the ball bouncing, way back when. To me, I think Shetland pony and I think first pony. I guess experiences for each of us are different though. I love your story and your photos. πŸ™‚


    1. It was a biter…big time !!! And one day I got talked in to riding it…we had a football field the backyard opened on to and it took off heading for traffic…all the while trying to bite me. It was sooooooo sneaky. It acted nonchalant, then bamm…out came the teeth !!!


      1. A horse’s ears are very tender. A good chomp on the end of the enr when they bite you sends a strong message. Most of the time, the horse will think twice about biting again, when he/she gets bitten back. An eye for an eye (or an ear, whatever the case may be). LOL. That was my method when dealing with a biter and I’ve seen results. So now you know. πŸ™‚ Of course you have to be able to deal with a little horse hair in your mouth briefly.


        1. It may have been a pony…but it was bigger than me so I am not sure I would have had the nerve to bite back. When I look back now I feel sorry for it really. It was old and had been a circus/carnival pony so I imagine it had good reason for being grumpy. But as a kid all I felt was fear !!!!!!


  2. Excellent post Jo I really love and enjoy your slideshow , Thumbs up for the images πŸ™‚


  3. I’d forgotten Lamby and the poor budgies …
    What a thoughtful and intimate post. What with this, and your slideshow shots, I have images of kids and animals living in (mostly) loving abandon. Speaking of which, I can’t imagine how you all felt when you learned what your brother did to Skipper.


    1. I actually overheard him some time later telling someone how mad he was Skipper had come back. I never put it in the post as i wanted it to be more of a celebration of the animals but at the same time he dumped Skipper he also took my dog. The one in the black and white photo with the docked tail. I had had another dog who was run over in front of me a while before and the man who had done it was so guilt stricken he turned up one day with this tiny bundle. I named her Lady…but a few months later Mum died and I stayed living with my brother and his wife. Only they were not happy with the two dogs being there. One day I came home from school and both were gone. Sadly Lady never came home. Also sadly, a while later my brother took Skipper on a longer trip. We never saw him again.


  4. Aw what a lovely bunch of pets, they bring so much joy. I’m sure the image of nine year old Jo roasting her late budgie is going to stay with me today though !


  5. My grandfather always told me, “The more I get to know people, the more I love my animals.” Only if people could love each other, trust each other, and be faithful to each other like our animals.


  6. I don’t think we can ever forget the pets who have shared our space and our lives. I really had to smile at your attempt at budgie resuscitation,and the ferret episode. πŸ˜‰


  7. The slideshow is such a cool idea! I like that big black cat. I once had seventeen cats (when I was a child on the farm) and I knew each of them by their name πŸ™‚


  8. This challenge has been so much fun. I have enjoyed seeing all of the beautiful pets everyone has had or have in their lives. This slide show is terrific. An exceptional group of adorable pets. ( just between you and me – I love the cats best of all – lol )


    1. Hi Isadora…yep cats are something else, and I have enjoyed reading about the pets in everyone’s lives as well. But dogs are pretty cool as well Chevvy said to tell you !


    1. They were cute…I fostered them for about four weeks. Lots of bottle feeding and bum wiping at first…but they all went to good homes which is the main thing.


  9. I loved reading your story, Jo. And what happened to Skipper brought tears to my eyes. That sweet courageous faithful dog.
    The pictures are adorable.


    1. Hi Marion. It still makes me teary when I think of it…I will have to find a photo of him…I do have one somewhere. He was a marvellous dog…so faithful to the family.


    1. Thanks Hook…I was lucky to have known these guys…and to have learned from them. So glad you liked this post. It was meant as a celebration of their lives.


  10. The story about your Budgie made me giggle (oven cremation, indeed!) and the one about Skipper made me cry…some people should just never be allowed near animals, period. My ex-hubby’s brother was like that, would get a puppy and love it until it got bigger and not so cute and then take it out to some country road and abandon it. >:-( Made me so mad! After the second time he did it I told him the next time he did it I would report him to the Humane Society for animal cruelty. Anyway, the story about the ferret touched my heart, too. My favorite pet I have ever had was a ferret named Taz. My kitties are a close 2nd, but there was just something extra special about Taz. Thanks for sharing these wonderful snippets of how your fur-babies have impacted your life. They truly do add so much to our lives and hearts. πŸ™‚


    1. I still get a bit teary when I think of Skipper and Lady far from home and not understanding why. I hope they found people to care for them…to love them. But the not knowing has always been hard. I liked Ian’s ferret but the one my other brother had (the horrible brother) was scary. She was terribly vicious and we were always afraid for people around her. I am about to do something about some people down the street with a dog. Everytime I walk Chevvy lately my heart breaks. It is skinny and even the toddler screams at it. But the last time I saw it it was confined in a crate used for stacking kiwifruit and couldn’t get out. I will NEVER understand why people like these have animals. There is no love and certainly no compassion for them.


  11. What a beautiful post Jo, so heartfelt and honest. I apologise for laughing at the budgie story (for all the right reasons) and also the ferret story. I cringed at Skipper’s story and hope you gave your brother a big kick up the arse but I expect you have learned to forgive him? Lovely stories and photos.


    1. Well I admit to a smile when I was writing the budgie story…so, well, ME !!! I never see THAT brother, never want to either…and actually I haven’t forgiven him for that or for all the other stuff he pulled. I know they say forgiveness is about freeing yourself from all the stuff…I have let the stuff that happened go…but some stuff does NOT bear forgiving. Does that sound harsh ?? Maybe…but it’s the truth.


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