Thursday, April 15, 2010

When Your Kids Have Fur, Feathers, and Shells

“Are you awake, Mom? Mom, you awake? Mom, wakey wakey. Mom.”

Yep, just a typical morning in the Wisdom household as my son does his wake up thing. Except when I open my eyes I see a little white furry face with black button eyes while a cold nose nudges my cheek.

No, my son doesn’t need a shave. Barney’s a three-year-old white mini-Schnauzer whose idea of waking me up is sniffing my face and nuzzling me until I’m alert enough to climb out of my nice comfy bed and take him downstairs so he can go outside.

And while he’s outside, I’m hearing “Awake here!” That means my other son, Syd, our twenty-eight-year-old Amazon Panama nape parrot, wants to be uncovered.

If I could just teach one of them to fetch coffee, because I can’t get it until they have their ‘me’ time.

Some people don’t believe in treating your critters like humans wearing fur, feathers, or even shells or scales. You’ll even hear the dreaded “but he’s a dog.” Yes, he is, but you’d be amazed how much those little guys understand.

And all our guys have minds of their own.

Barney came to our household last summer when he was lost in the neighborhood. It took three weeks to find his owner, I was heartbroken to return him, but two days later the owner called me and asked if I wanted him. You’d think he’d always been with us. When people hear me talk to him, they think I’m talking to a human. He’s smart enough to know what I’m saying and he’s very vocal. And many times he’s happy stretched out in my chair with me when I’m writing. Friends told me Barney was sent to me since my beloved Chihuahua/Yorkie, Bogie, was going on eighteen and showing declining health. Bogie went to Rainbow Bridge in January and Barney did offer a lot of comfort then. And he still does. Although he’s only twelve pounds, that little guy does a great job of hogging the bed and it’s “no, you move” when I want more room. He seems to think my side of the bed is also his even if he has his own blankie on the bed. :}

Syd has a habit of coming upstairs if he feels neglected. Nothing like hearing a “hi!” and seeing him walk into my office, ready for his share of attention and his playpen.

Luckily, Barney’s smart enough to stay out of beak and claw range. Syd’s been featured in a past book and I know he’ll show up again.

They’re not my only kids. There’s also Florence, a twenty-four year old tortoise we’ve had since she was a baby that our avian vet gave us. We’re talking tortoise with attitude. She believes the house is hers. She wants wall-to-wall carpeting, A/C and central heat. During the summer she has her Dogloo and hibernates in the guest bathroom during the winter. Definitely a conversation piece for visitors especially since she snores when she’s hibernating. Florence may use her senses, but if I call her she will come since she follows the sound of my voice. And she loves nothing more than having the top of her head rubbed. She’s also appeared in one of my books.

They’re not my pets. They’re my babies, my muse at times, and I love them all. That’s why they show up in my books.

My kids won’t be honor students, but that’s okay. They’re tops with me.

Even if Barney does his “Mom, are you awake?” at 5am, because he’s decided he’s got to go outside.

What about you? Do you have furry, feathery, scaly, or shell kids?



  1. We haven't had any furry kids for quite awhile. No fenced yard here and we don't want to get another dog until we do have one. But, yeah, people who say "it's just a dog/cat/animal/etc" make me want to scream and smack them over the head. :)

  2. That's true, Tori.

    I always loved it that my dogs were allowed in a friend's house while her own dogs weren't. She said mine behaved. :}

  3. I have 3 furry kitties. My other children want a dog but I am allergic. Personally I would love a mini weiner dog- they are so cute.

    I also have a thing for turtles and tortoises so some day I would love a couple of those too.

    Right now my youngest non-furry (he's almost 4) would torment any other critters- so we just stick with the cats that are used to him and can get away fast if need be.

  4. I'm supposedly allergic to dogs but never had problems around my own. The dr. used to shake his head since the dogs always slept on the bed. Usually wrapped around me. When we have two I'm the filling in a canine sandwich. :}

    I love visiting the Galpagos tortoises at the zoo. Their keepers are women, so they come to me and let me feed them.

    Oh yes, I'm a total critter person. Plus we have several cats who hang out around the house, so no rats.