Friday, November 11, 2005

Animal House

This morning, we had a visit from Mr. Fox, the red fox who grudgingly shares the hill with us. Foxes are pretty stealthy, but when you have parrots, stealth just doesn't cut it. Cleo, who appointed herself Official Watchbird upon arriving in the household nine years ago, spotted the fox — who looks magnificent in his full red winter coat — and let go, our own personal air raid siren. This, of course, sent Alf the Wonder Beagle into paroxysms of baying, calling all Free Range Beagles to join the Wild Hunt.

Mr. Fox responded to this STAGGERING CACOPHONY by hopping onto the patio, plopping himself in front of the sliding glass door and scratching his muzzle. I don't think he respects Alf as a fellow predator; maybe he thinks she's kinda cute, except for the absence of a huge fluffy tail.

Today is Animal Day...I gotta do some maintenance on the aquarium. The guys are getting the size where you wouldn't throw them back if you caught 'em. Nemo especially has become very demanding, jumping out of the water when he thinks its time to be fed (yes, I keep a tightly fitted top on the aquarium, which he's managed to hit a couple of times). Pooh Ye loves it when I change the water; he gets right under the fresh water outflow and does flips...he's about as graceful as a small concrete block. Fairly weird that those little one-inch goldfish have morphed into actual pets...excuse me, companion animals. My Sweetie says I desperately need a black fish because of feng sui issues.

Yeah, whatever. I haven't done it because I'm now unwilling to risk my tank without quarantining the new fish for a month, dosing it with fishy antibiotics, etc. That comes under the heading of huge pain in butt...I'll probably wait until December, when I'm mostly off the road, to set up the quarantine tank. Also, I can't introduce a little bitty goldfish to a tank with three agressive bruisers...Pooh Ye will bounce the newcomer off the wall until he's sushi. SO I gotta suck it up and mail order a bigger goldfish. Jeez, poor man's koi.

To make matters worse, the Sweetie has been making purring noises about adding a kitten to the home zoo. I don;t suppose it will make that much difference...we had cats for years, so it's an old mix. The parrots — especially the macaws — quickly take control of the proper training of any small animal that comes into the house...sort of trial by icepick. Ripley the gray parrot issues orders that he fully expects to be followed to the letter...when we got him almost 12 years ago, we had an old yellow cat that thought Ripley was the dish of the day. The kitty got to meet Mr. Beak; after a week, the cat responded to Ripley's commands much better than it ever did to ours. When the cat did what Ripley ordered, he called the kitty a "good bird," his highest compliment.

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