For the love of animals


Illustration by Jenny Lamont

In which DD wonders who is the most high-maintenance of the family, her… or one of the fur kids

Bright and early this morning, we took the girls, Sheba and Sammy, for a speed walk around the neighbourhood, which was good for all of us. But maybe it was not so much of a hoot for the little family of Guinea Fowl that were trotting ahead of us.

There were five or six black-and-white Guinea Fowl plodding along in their funny head-bobbing way with not a care in the world – all looking equally confused about which way to go (as Guinea Fowl always do). This disorganised little gang was closely followed by James with Sheba and Sammy. From my point of view it looked as though James was walking all of them, dogs and birds alike.

To be honest, I walked with my hands over my eyes for most of the time that they were with us; it’s a very busy road and they kept on sending one of them over to totter off into the road like wobbly spinning tops (why do they do that?!). I frantically slowed down two cars (imagine a wild-eyed, bed-headed lady in shloomfy clothing leaping haphazardly out into the road – you’d slow down too…) and had visions of losing my life because of leaping into the path of a Guinea Fowl to save it. I can just picture my gravestone: “Here lies DD, a crazy animal lover right to the very end… but on the plus side, the Guinea Fowl survived.”

Sheba was heartbroken when the funny bunch all flew away. I, on the other hand, was very relieved.

After this exciting wildlife encounter, the girls had a blast going up and down the stairs to the new loft office with The Dad – this is their new favourite pastime. Even though Sammy and I had the stern “only go if you are with mommy” conversation, she legged it upstairs the first chance she got to see if there were any sock hiding places! Only Arty Cat hasn’t ventured up there; he far prefers to sun himself in various places outside, looking outrageously handsome and unconcerned with such silliness.

Later, while The Dad and I were having our catch-up meeting, we spotted Arty with his big blue eyes gazing forlornly in at us through the closed French doors. The cat window, I might add, was open... The Dad took pity on him, and stood up and opened the doors and let the poor waif in. Arty strolled right on in without a glance in our general direction, had a delicate nibble of pellets, then jumped out of the window – and sat back outside the French doors with a forlorn expression, wanting to come in. 

At night he won’t come in unless we shake the box of kitty biscuits. And he has a cunning plan to get them – a routine that we have to go through EVERY night. I let the girls out for their pre-bed wee and, of course, Arty comes dashing through the cottage to go out and join them. They do their thing like good little girls and come trotting back inside. Arty just sits and watches me. I call in my sweetest “kitty” voice. Then I beg. Then I use a more angry tone. Nothing makes him move. If I go out to him, he runs away – and he knows full well that I can’t catch him. Finally I’m forced to leave the door open (letting freezing cold air inside), stomp to the kitchen, grab the box of kitty biscuits, go back to the door, and shake the box. And, of course, he then comes happily bounding in. Grrrr. 

But, truth be told, high maintenance or not, I wouldn’t trade my fur kids for the world.