Pets are humanizing. They remind us we have an obligation and responsibility to preserve and nurture and care for all life.

– James Cromwell

If you’re an animal lover like me, you probably have at least one pet. I’m lucky enough to have lots of pets, and I treasure them all.

We bought our dog Sally from the pound. She was an awful puppy: she ate our hoses, nipped our heels when we stepped outside and had lots of expensive health problems. But she’s grown up to be a patient dog who tries her best to do the right thing.

Endearing qualities: Sally drags her bedding around with her. She even made this bed herself inside our hose.

Our cat Timothy lives to eat. When he hit 8 kg, the vet insisted that we put him on a diet. We now fill in a food chart each day.

Endearing qualities: Not one to stop at meat, Timothy scoffs lettuce, seaweed and gnaws on swamp foxtails and purple fountain grass.

We found our first cockatiel, Birdie num num, three months ago in our backyard. She was weak and incredibly hungry. We tried to find her owner but had no luck – and this is how we got our first pet bird.

Endearing qualities: Birdie num num ducks her little head down when she wants a head rub.

Our second cockatiel, Teddy yellow bear, is the newest addition to our family. He’s only 3 ½ months old. We bought him last week because we thought Birdie num num needed a companion.

Endearing qualities: Teddy yellow bear reminds us of what a baby is like. He plays with all the toys in the cage, bites all the perches and flops and falls all over the place.

Our marine fish are astonishingly beautiful. They remind me of the wonderful times I’ve had scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef.

Endearing qualities: Remembering to stop and watch the fish is like remembering to stop and smell the roses: it reminds me to notice and appreciate the beauty of living things.

Our mice make surprisingly good pets. They are cute, soft and warm.

Endearing qualities: Mice are so small and perfect. When I look at them I marvel at how such tiny creatures can be as complicated as we are.

The tropical freshwater fish are my own special pets. I keep them mainly because I adore Siamese fighting fish.

Endearing qualities: Looking at them reminds me of the importance of community and of the balance of life. The tank contains a complete world of plants and animals that live and grow in harmony.

Sometimes I feel as if I’m doing little else except feeding and cleaning up after all our pets. But as soon as I look at them, I remember how much they add to my life.



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