"an elegant tapestry of quotations, musings, aphorisms, and autobiographical reflections" (James Atlas)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pets, critters, beasties(1)

Whoever follows this will know by now that I'm a fan of all creatures great and small - occasionally I even like humans! So I figured this is a good way to remember some of the critters that have shared my life, and some that are still sharing.
When I was little, we travelled a lot. Dad was with the US Air Force, so we never put down roots anywhere for long, which is why we never had a pet as a child. My first encounter, as a toddler, was with 'Baby', my Grandma's springer spaniel. We got on like a house on fire, shared ice cream and cheerios (often from the same spoon, much to Mum's chagrin). Because of Baby, I was never scared of animals and would approach even the most ferocious looking dog for a pat, no doubt causing more heart attacks for my folks. When we moved to Germany, we lived in flats, and pets were not really a good idea in that environment. Mum & Dad were not pet people although they liked animals. Dad once had a dachshund called 'Oggie' but then he left for overseas, so Oggie got a new home.
When my sister was a toddler, we 'rescued' a sparrow that probably had been mauled by a cat, but it didn't last they day. My folks then decided to get a canary, 'Hansi', who lived with us for several years and sang his little heart out for us! Mum had gotten used to a bird, so when Hansi died, she got herself a little green Amazon parrot, 'Suesse' (Sweetie). Mum had a lively, slightly high pitched voice, which the parrot responded to well. It took no time at all for Suesse to imitate Mum, even her laugh! Whenever we laughed, Suesse laughed too! This bird was amazing. She insisted sitting at the table with us when we had dinner, with her own little dish and woe betide! if she didn't have the same things we were eating - she went and got it from the bowl herself! Having eaten, she graciously allowed us to carry her back to her cage. Suesse was only in her cage when we went out, other times the cage was open and she sat on top of it, surveying her kingdom. Suesse couldn't fly, her wings had been damaged. Mum trained her to sit on a walking stick which hung on the cage, so when Suesse wanted to explore, she dumped the walking stick on the floor, climbed down, and then pulled it along behind herself. In the mornings, she followed Mum around the house, with the walking stick, knowing her routine by heart, and watched her make the bed and clean the bathroom. And the carry-on if Mum was late, you wouldn't believe it! In the evening, Suesse sat on Mum's knee, munching on a piece of apple, watching TV with her. Mum had her for 18 years and we all missed Suesse when she died. In the meantime, I had moved into my own flat and was thinking of getting a cat....(to be continued).

picture from /www.free-pet-wallpapers.com


  1. What a lovely story and what a sweet bird! One more thing for "our list" is that I have thought about writing about the animals we have loved.

  2. Birds are amazing creatures, particularly parrots. We had a cockateil who had some neat party tricks.
    He was fun to have until he got jealous of the budgie and would bite my ear if the budgie flew onto my shoulder. That was his territory.
    I'm still unsure why I was the one who had to be bitten!