Friday, September 29, 2006

Friday Critter Blogging

Once upon a time, Julie and Richard and I lived in Fairbanks in a log house with moose antlers over the front door. Since Horney Hall seemed a bit much for the name of a house with children, we called it Antler Manor. If you look carefully, you can see the antlers as well as the newly turned earth of our vegetable garden. This house had originally been a one room cabin, belonging to a lady of the night, and had grown, one room at a time over the decades. Sadly, it is no longer there, having been purchased and torn down to create a parking lot for the church next door.

(I don't know -- to tear down an ex-house of ill repute for a church parking lot just seems wrong to me.)
At various times we shared Antler Manor with other people, and we always shared it with critters. The first acquired was Julie's dog, Samantha, who was half Labrador and half Saint Bernard. Sam was an eternally patient dog, allowing all of these other animals to climb on and sit on her. Also, she allowed Julie to garb her in long dresses and to crawl right into her dog house and watch her puppies being born. Such a wonderful dog, I will miss her forever.

Then came my cat, The Grey Mouser, and Richard's cat, Fafhrd the Barbarian. They were good at climbing the family Christmas trees and knocking them over, so that we had to run guy wires to the curtain rods to secure them. Also, they once cornered a Saint Bernard named Thor who was trying to catch the parrot and scratched his nose until he backed off and Julie and Richard were able to wrestle him outdoors.

Then Richard got a rabbit, which he named Playboy. (Don't talk to me about this, it wasn't my idea.) Playboy, like all of the beasts, ran free about the house, returning to his cage to use the bathroom.

The final addition to our home zoo was Grandma, an Amazonian parrot. Initially, he (he came to us with that gender and that name and there you are) belonged to Julie, but she gave him to me for Christmas, and so he was mine. He loved to grab onto a walnut (in shell) and be lifted into the air by his beak. He was a most affectionate bird, flying about the house and landing on my shoulder to have his neck scratched. I was always amazed, when I felt how very thin his neck was, that he was so trusting. I could easily have killed him, but he offered his little neck to me and never considered that he was in any danger. The way animals trust us will never cease to amaze me.

Although this picture is kind of fuzzy because they were both in motion, you can see that Fafhrd and Grandma were good friends. Fafhrd used to curl up against the cage on the outside, and Grandma would snuggle up on the inside, and they would be fur to feathers, and both purr.

The one time we needed another person in the house with a camera, was a Sunday morning when the kids had crawled in bed with me to read. Suddenly I realized that, starting left to right, was Richard (ten at the time), Fafhrd, me, Mouser, Julie (eight), with Playboy and Samantha curled up on our feet and Grandma perched on my knee.

If critters can get along, why can't people?

P. S. I'm home.


Ginnie said...

At one time in my life we had 13 cats,7 dogs and a horse!
Oh, and I forgot, 3 small children... but that was another life.
Welcome home, glad you're back safe & sound.

Anvilcloud said...

We've had to secure Christmas trees too.

Gina said...

My sister had an Amazonian parrot as well, and I remember without too much fondness the way he would scream in the mornings and wake mu up whenever I wanted to sleep in.

Jill said...

What wonderful memories!Animals are such wonderful companions.

Deja Pseu said...

Our cats and horses were best buddies. One of the cats used to sleep on top of my horse's rump when the weather got chilly. But a cat and a bird! Now that's really something!

J said...

Thanks for a picture of my dog. :) Love her still.

I always wondered about the name "Playboy", but you know, Richard WAS going through puberty, and having a Playboy Bunny around probably seemed like a pretty good idea at the time.

Boy, Grandma was a loud bird. I wonder what ever happened to him.

py Korry said...

I've heard variations of these stories since J and I started going out, but I've never seen pictures of Grandma (Which, by the way, is such a great name for a bird!), the cats, or the house!

Joy Des Jardins said...

Welcome home J! You certainly have had your share of pets...and pet stories over the years. Gives us some insight as to why you're the nurturing and loving person that you are.

Melissa said...

You know, I've always wondered the same thing. But I have no answers.

We had an African Grey for 12 years. She was highly entertaining. She loved, loved ice cream and pasta. That bird lived for pasta.

lorettambeaver said...

Welcome home! Love the photo's and yes I would have loved to see a photo of family and pets at reading time. love Lori