Thursday, October 8, 2009

World Animal Day

My mother loves to tell this story about me. According to her, when I was a preschooler, maybe 4 or 5 years old, I had two pet turtles. One morning, I looked into the tank to find that one of the turtles had died. I was inconsolable. My father took the limp turtle out of the tank and placed it in a red basin. He told me, "don't cry darling, the turtle is just a little sick. I'll put him aside for a bit of a rest and you go off to school. He'll be fine by the time you get back."

So I went, anxiously, off to school. Unknown to me, my father proceeded to issue strict instructions to my mother. She was to carefully examine the turtle (which was well and truly dead) and memorise the number and location of all its spots and all other distinctive markings. She was then to go to the market and make sure that she purchased an exact replica. She dutifully carried out this mission.

When I got home, I ran into the house to check on my turtle, which was happily swimming about in the red basin. Wonder of wonders! I jumped for joy! I asked my mum, 'what medicine did you give him?' and she said, 'i put some salt in his water'. Wow!

It was many years later, and after I marinated many dead turtles in salt water in the hope that they'd 'get better', that I learned that there are freshwater turtles and there are seaturtles and that salt water is not the best medicine for a freshwater turtle.

Oh well. The point I wanted to convey is that I love animals.

There are strong indications that Ryan will grow up to be an animal lover too. We have a cat (called Tiger), a dog (called Max), an aquarium of fish and a small pond in the backyard which is seasonally populated by tadpoles and frogs. Birds are always present. Occasionally a squirrel runs across the fence. Ryan is fascinated by all of this. He shrieks in delight at the fish swimming about. His eyes follow closely when Tiger saunters past or when Max comes sniffing around. He chuckles and invites them to stay and chat with him and sometimes they do.

I'm sure that he'll want his own pet one day and I look forward to it. Perhaps I'll get the chance to heal a sick turtle or two.

October 4 was World Animal Day. To all the dogs, cats, hamsters, fish, chickens, ducks, rabbits, turtles and birds that have been part of my life, I salute you and thank you for the memories.


Doofus said...

I will never forget our Science corner and how icki-fied i was to touch the moss covered brick. i also refused to touch the fishes when we had to change the water!! you wrote me a note to proclaim your affections for all critters, including worms. ring any bells?

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