Category Archive 'Pets'

08 Feb 2024

Worst Behaved Pets

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Country Life celebrates Britain’s Worst Behaved Pets.I think this one’s the winner.

It’s awkward enough having your pet swipe other people’s meals, but it is quite another matter when they consume each other — especially in public. During one now legendary Sunday lunch hosted by the late Maj Tim Riley of Blencowe, Cumbria, his black labrador slunk into the dining room, where he proceeded to sick up a cat under a sideboard. Without breaking the conversation, Maj Riley got up and deftly placed his napkin over the remains. It had, we are told, a really bushy tail.


16 May 2021

Cedarhurst Needs Peafowl

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Sean Flynn, in LithHub, discusses the perfectly natural human need for some peafowl strutting about the property, perching in one’s trees, lending the desmesne a bit of exoticism and tone, and –of course– screaming their heads off.

My wife Louise had spontaneously volunteered to take a peacock from our friend Danielle because a peacock, in a fundamental sense, is not a bird that one possesses so much as experiences; as with an especially moving work of art, the simple act of looking at it will stir emotions. A peacock, she imagined, would patrol the yard like a sentry in dress uniform, high-stepping through the irises and roosting on the low branches of the cedars or the high peak of the barn. Every so often he would throw up a fabulous spray of feathers for no other reason than to remind us that such a spectacle is possible. It would be inevitable and yet somehow a surprise every time.

That is what one peacock would do, but only one.

Louise did not want Flannery O’Connor’s multitudes. She wanted a single peacock, a manageable number proportional to our small phony farm. The property was suitable for a pair of chickens, not a flock, after all, and the paddock was properly sized for a miniature horse, not a Thoroughbred. We were scaled for a solitary peacock, Louise insisted. Three was another matter altogether. A part-time job, she said. A petting zoo.

“You can’t have one peacock,” I told her on the drive home. “He’d be lonely.”

From: Why Peacocks? An Unlikely Search for Meaning in the World’s Most Magnificent Bird.


“Cedarhurst,” our Southern future retirement home. Ten acres is surely enough to keep the peafowl happy.

02 May 2017

Squirrels Used to be Common Pets

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John Singleton Copley, A Boy with a Flying Squirrel. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Atlas Obscura informs us that a once common custom was obliterated by a change in fashion which then became cemented into Progressive Era regulation.

In 1722, a pet squirrel named Mungo passed away. It was a tragedy: Mungo escaped its confines and met its fate at the teeth of a dog. Benjamin Franklin, friend of the owner, immortalized the squirrel with a tribute.

“Few squirrels were better accomplished, for he had a good education, had traveled far, and seen much of the world.” Franklin wrote, adding, “Thou art fallen by the fangs of wanton, cruel Ranger!”

Mourning a squirrel’s death wasn’t as uncommon as you might think when Franklin wrote Mungo’s eulogy; in the 18th- and 19th centuries, squirrels were fixtures in American homes, especially for children. While colonial Americans kept many types of wild animals as pets, squirrels “were the most popular,” according to Katherine Grier’s Pets in America, being relatively easy to keep. …

While many people captured their pet squirrels from the wild in the 1800s, squirrels were also sold in pet shops, a then-burgeoning industry that today constitutes a $70 billion business. One home manual from 1883, for example, explained that any squirrel could be bought from your local bird breeder. But not unlike some shops today, these pet stores could have dark side; Grier writes that shop owners “faced the possibility that they sold animals to customers who would neglect or abuse them, or that their trade in a particular species could endanger its future in the wild.”

Keeping pet squirrels has a downside for humans too, which eventually became clear: despite their owners’ best attempts at taming them, they’re still wild animals. As time wore on, squirrels were increasingly viewed as pests; by the 1910s squirrels became so despised in California that the state issued a widespread public attack on the once-adored creatures. From the 1920s through the 1970s many states slowly adopted wildlife conservation and exotic pet laws, which prohibited keeping squirrels at home.


22 Apr 2015

Festive Boa

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10 Jul 2010

Saturday, July 10, 2010

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James Carville’s own poll finds that 55% of Americans believe Barack Obama is accurately described as a socialist.


Red China’s People’s Daily says that the Taliban are training monkeys (macaques and baboons imported from the jungle) in Waziristan to use AK-47s, Bren guns, and trench mortars against US forces whose uniforms the monkeys are being taught to recognize.


Democrat Financial Reform Bill includes racial and gender quotas for US financial industry.


With the Social Security system soon to go broke, even democrats are talking seriously about raising the retirement age to 70. (Talking Points Memo)


San Francisco (America’s longest and most impressive exercise in misgovernment) regulated pot brownies and grudgingly tabled a proposal to ban the sale of pets other than fish.

15 Apr 2007

Get Out The Insulin Again

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I really hate blogging this kind of cutsey-wutsey stuff, but still I suppose even the most hardened and cynical among us will like this hamster with his broccoli, so I feel obliged to pass this one along.


I could have done without the text comments though.

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

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