I have just noticed a pattern in my behaviour… Other people may have noticed this a LONG time ago, but I now understand the reasoning behind it.
When I try to avoid a stress that is bugging me, I try and fill it with love. This has resulted in expanding my home with more animals. I adore all animals and would happily open my home to any animal that requires one.
I have a couple of stresses at the moment, the cold causing extra pain, being assessed by the government for my illnesses, sorting through a ‘new home’ to make it feel like I live here and the usual stress of life.
I convince my children that they want a pet, recently my latest ploy, showing my girls some baby mice. It is my eldest daughters birthday next week (mine too if you wish to send gifts!) and this resulted in the idea of mice for her birthday.
I do have more pets than most. We have 3 tropical fish tanks, a dog (surprise for my partner who stated he did not want a dog – but has now become his biggest ally in allowing him on settees and upstairs) a cat who was advertised on the internet as he was going to be dumped (I was not a ‘cat person’ previously but his bipolar personality reminds me of myself so he has won me over) an elderly pony who was saved 5 years ago from death as he was abandoned and starving. He is on medication for osteoarthritis in his spine as he in his late 30’s. He has a beautiful soul and I had to scrape together the money for him, it would have pinched my conscience forever had I left him in his situation. I also have an Australian Galah cockatoo who was advertised by someone who had bought him on a spur of the moment decision and was petrified of him. I call him my third baby. He is the biggest tart on the planet and such a creep that you can’t help but love him. He says ‘I love you’ when he wants to share food and loves being tickled and scritched on his head. How the previous owner was scared of him, I have no idea, but the minute I got to see him two days after he was advertised, he stepped straight onto my hand and I was smitten. Even my mum, who has always said she didn’t like him as he was big, was won over when she visited and he sat on her shoulder, whispering in her ear and showing off his dance moves.
I know why I have an affection for animals. They treat you how you treat them. They are my company for most of the day. I crave affection, I always have. Even from a young age I adored animals. My first pet aged 6 was Snowy, an albino mouse. He lived for 3 years which is double the life expectancy for a mouse. I took him EVERYWHERE. I took him to school in my pocket, he came to play with me and I turned my slyvanian families houses into his own little village.
This was the start of my pet love affair.
My step daughter was doing a family tree recently and was considering putting pets on there. I said to her she would need a lot more paper if I added mine on there. I had never counted up all the pets I had loved over the years, but I decided to sit down and write down all their names. I forget a heck of a lot of stuff, but all my animals will be forever in my memory.
It turned out there was over 65, not including fish or ones that I ‘cared for’ for other people. In my teenage years I trained other peoples pets for them so they could be tamed. I enjoyed it. I also earned a few extra pennies doing something I liked. It started with hamsters, gerbils, mice, rabbits. Then I started training peoples budgies. Using my own very well trained budgie, Pepsi, they were able to be more confident. Some only took a week, others a little longer. Sadly, some of them were not continued with their training so the work was lost, but I know of two that became as well trained as my Pep.
So how do I stop myself from becoming a ‘hoarder’ of animals? Now, don’t get me wrong, none of my animals are mistreated in any way. All of their needs are met. I have a good friend helping my pony day to day while I cannot get their because of my health, all of my animals have been trained to be able to spend time getting along with each other and they ALL get the best in the way of nutrition. I would never take on an animal that I could provide the absolute best for, but at what point should I stop?
I had to rehome my ‘outside animals’ chickens, rabbit and guinea pig, as in my previous garden they had lots of space to free roam. I do not agree on not allowing animals to not have the space they need. When I moved in to my partners home, the garden was not big enough to allow them this. So I had to move them to a good friends house. In the countryside with space to do as they always had done.
But I miss them. I miss their funny personalities and obviously the fresh eggs were gorgeous.
While I agree with my OH that I can’t have animals that I can’t care for… A little mouse or two is not going to split the walls from over crowding. I did promise no more animals, but my reasoning is that I have reduced the number by many so it is not really adding.
I have a desire to love. Animals AND people. I do not see as many people outside of my family as others do. Am I transferring my need for social interaction with people, into a need to interact with animals? Or do I just really love animals?! I guess it’s a lot of both.
My company has decided to stop sitting on my laptop and is cooling off on the settee next to me.
Animal ‘hoarder’, definitely not. Animal friend I prefer.
Do you find pets fill a void that you have in your life?