Thursday, 26 July 2007

Childhood pets

We always had mongrels as pets though I cannot remember their names now except for one called Koopee. He was a smart dog who walked with us to the bus stop every morning, and waited till we got up the bus safely before making his way home. The bus drivers would sometimes ask “Is your dog coming along too?”

They were not allowed indoors and usually slept along our verandah. We had a pregnant dog that snuck into the house and delivered a litter of puppies under my bed. It was a huge effort for mum to shift the beds and clean up all that mess!

As I was walking home one day, I found a baby musang (common palm civet cat) amongst the bushes, looking lost and vulnerable. I brought it home and dad nursed it back to health. It became a family pet who often sat on dad’s shoulders while he watched TV. Sadly, it was mauled to death by one of our dogs one day.

I bought a pair of white baby bunnies from the pet shop one day. From two bunnies, we had 6, then 10, and they multiplied so quickly, we had a huge enclosure full of bouncing bunnies. Dad bought vegetables by the truckloads but they had such ravenous appetites, they started chewing on the grass and wooden fencing. Soon they were escaping one by one until we were left with some old ones. When they finally died of old age, dad said “No more rabbits!”

So I stopped bringing home bunnies but he started adopting the chicks from the Science Centre. They had an exhibit that showed the life cycle of chicken. Now, what did they do with the chicks that hatched from the eggs in the incubator? Yes! They ended up in our yard! They were cute at first, but cute chicks grow up into ugly chickens. Mum was obviously quite mad at the sight of chickens all over the place. So dad built a big coop to keep them under control and was quite happy to buy chicken feed. I guess he had no choice. He agreed to adopt the chicks.

Then came the turtles. I can’t remember what kind of experiment Science Centre conducted but we ended up with hundreds or even thousands of tiny turtles (or terrapins). We had a huge concrete pond that served as a reservoir that mum could tap on for her garden during dry seasons. Of course mum was upset to see the fresh water pond being invaded by these little critters. Unfortunately, these turtles didn’t last very long. Maybe they couldn’t acclimatize or the tank was overcrowded for they perished soon after, contaminating the water inside.

A tedious task of draining the tank and cleaning ensued. I think dad learned his lesson because he didn’t bring any more animals home after that.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

We had chickens too. My mom raised them from chicks as well. When they grew up they would sometimes roam free, although the dog would harass and chase them. We used to find eggs in the garage, in the storeroom, everywhere. It was like an Easter Egg hunt everyday, even though we don't celebrate Easter!

Blur Ting said...

That's nice! Free eggs! except you never know if they've expired!

Anonymous said...

Civet cats look like ferrets. When I went to school in Canada I was surprised to see people walking their ferrets on a leash at a mall. I thought they were domesticated weasels!

Blur Ting said...

Oh, that is the bigger kind. I think ours was the palm civet...the same one we saw at Dempsey.

HollyGL said...

I had a cat named Jingles. One summer while I was away visiting my grammy, my parents gave her away. We were moving into a condominium that didn't allow pets. My mom called me on the phone to tell me she was gone, and I was inconsolable. The worst part of all is that my parents kept THEIR cat.

I think it really says a lot about who you are, Blur, that you adopted all of those animals. A kind heart you have, my friend.

Blur Ting said...

Oh dear, my kids would kill me if i gave away our pets!

I love animals, my dad too and now my kids. I think it runs in the family.

The kids are always asking me when we're driving around, "If there's a puppy along the road, would you bring it home?" I always say "It depends." and they'll be so mad. They want me to bring every single one home!

Anonymous said...

Hey Holly, I had an experience like that. When I was little a pair of pigeons came to roost under our roof. We'd never seen pigeons that much back then, so I started feeding them, gradually getting them to take food from my hand.
Then one day I came home from school to hear that a neighbour had trapped and eaten one. I cried my eyes out, knowing it was that my kindness that led to their capture. The neighbour subsequently surrendered the surviving pigeon to us.

Thinking back now, who the hell eats pigeons? They're nasty with bacteria and s...tuff.