The Best Pet

Isobel on daily active duty, guarding me against evil couriers and that postman.

There are two types of people in the world. Actually, that is extremely wrong. There are many types of people in the world, but today we are only discussing two.

Animal People V. Non Animal People.

This post is not designed to be controversial and draw a line in the crowd and incite rioting and start a campaign and produce many hashtags. It is just a factual account of actability.

For example, I am one of five siblings. Three of us LOVE animals and have so since birth, where as two of my sisters could take them or leave them. Preferably leave them. Growing up, we had a menagerie due to the fact that my mum is pro-pet. At one point we had two dogs, two cats, two guinea pigs, two horses and two chickens. It would appear that we were preparing for the big wet and somewhere an Ark was being constructed.

Even as a wee lass, I could not get enough animals in my life. I would get home from school and take an ice cream container up to a nearby field which was known for having ladybirds in impressive quantities. I would collect a couple of hundred and take them home. There I would install them into my doll’s house, giving them free reign of all the amenities. I would observe them and identify the candidates that displayed any signs of being gifted and/or talented. The special ones were then inducted into my circus. I would teach them toe walk across a cotton thread which was a tight-rope.

Them Mum would discover them and make me take my circus back to the field.

At the end of our road there was a bubbling creek, a place where we spent a lot of time swimming without supervision. This creek had thousands of guppies. Again, with the ice-cream container, I collected a lot. After schlepping them home, Mum told me that I was not allowed to keep them in my room (KILL JOY) so I put them on the back verandah. It was a hot day, I recall, so when our ancient Labrador Sam ambled up to it, my pets turned into a cold fish soup. I had enormous guilt.

I remember I would hate Mum when she would spread those green snail pellets around the gardens in an effort to kill the snails and slugs. I would then whip around and save them all, and deposit the lot of them into the safely of the neighbour’s place who didn’t give a crap about their garden.


Over the years we have had many pets. The most mysterious was a cat we rescued who was a Burmilla. (Burmese Chinchilla mix). The rescue centre had called him Burmilla Parker Bowles, which I thought was cruel for many reasons. We bought him home and Harry called him Wilson, after his basket ball. The rescue centre didn’t have much in the way of background on Wilson, but suggested that he needed to be re-homed after his owner was assassinated in the street in a now-famous criminal case.

But I think the less said about the better… (locks doors)

Last year it was estimated that there were 24 million pets in Australian households, and our country has one of the highest rate of pet ownership in the world! And they all gather at our local dog park on a Sunday afternoon where Isobel is very popular with the cattle dogs and kelpies, who for some reason, spend the whole time trying to round her up. For she indeed looks like a sheep and sometimes the instinctive urge is too strong in these traditional working dogs. You can take the working dog out of the country, but you cannot take the country out of the working dog.

And of course then there is Chuy, who is getting on in age a bit. He hates everyone apart from Douglas down the road, and Sydney writer Jo Thornely, who is naturally allergic but who takes a handful of Zyrtec when she comes to visit.

So when it comes to pets, what camp are you in?

How many do you have?

Have you ever had a favourite one?