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Sunday, May 14, 2006

You Keep Pets, They Own You

sandhill 6 I don't keep pets anymore. I've had everything from fish to a horse with all the usual and unusual creatures in between. Felines and canines, reptiles and avians. Even rodents. My first day at college I befriended a housefly in my dorm room. I was lonely. My roommate finally arrived and replaced him. The fly was not as annoying, though.

Allergies and responsibilities that kept me from being a proper caretaker finally steered me away from keeping pets. It was a good choice for many reasons. I'm much better at enjoying other peoples pets. I need to be more mobile than pets allow you to be. I also need to breathe clearly. It helps with the singing. Then of course there is the pooper scooper thing. I'm JUST NOT DOING THAT. EVER.

I love to observe Florida wildlife. Strangely, it has not completely abandoned this over developed neighborhood. We have a golf course in my back yard and many ponds and a wooded area . So we see bald eagles and hawks, bobcats, lots of reptiles (not all have teeth), and amazing huge birds. There are at least three kinds of herons, two egrets, storks and my very favorite, the sandhill cranes.

Florida has it's own tribe of these magnificent creatures that do not migrate like the cranes in the west. They live and breed here. They mate for life. They are HUGE and stately, make a piercing clarinet type of sound. They are unintimidated by golfers, often refusing to let them play through while they forage on a tee box. I love these guys for that alone. I haven't played golf since I moved to a golf course. Lack of time and my unwillingness to follow any rules keeps me off the links. There is also the extortion prices they charge.

sandhill 5 We were so thrilled this year to have a pair of cranes hatch a chick in our yard. We watched it grow and delighted in how the parents trained it. The father got very defensive. Annoyingly so when he pecked at every window in the neighborhood to protect his family against his own reflection. We still have his big sandy footprints on our screen. Size 37, I believe. He also reduced it to tatters with his massive beak. Gradually they began showing the little one all the ponds in the area. Crossing roads with the attitude of a street punk jaywalker. "Yo, I'm walking here!" Tragically, this resulted in somebody running the father down about two weeks ago. We watched Mom adjusting to single parenthood. She was pretty nervous at first, reacting to every movement and sound. The little one was much bigger and feeling independent and not always staying close to Mom.

Yesterday we noticed mom was by herself. We haven't heard of another road accident. I'm assuming Mr. Bobcat claimed the little one. Everything has to eat, ya know? It was heartbreaking to watch Mom by herself. Standing on the tee box calling forlornly. No one answered. Pretty shitty Mothers Day for her.

That was awful to watch. Another reason I don't keep pets.

posted by Bud @ 11:04 PM

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