I wish someone had told me about pets
“I wish someone had told me” is a series of posts that feed into our inquisitive nature at CN&CO. Each week we hear from someone in our network about something interesting or surprising that’s recently happened or occurred to them – or lessons they learnt. These blogs are a way to pay it forward and form part of CN&CO’s belief that the world can be a better place – and we all have a responsibility to make it so. This week’s post is by Carel. And if you don’t like animals, read no further.
My parrot is 46 years old. Same age as me. Her name is Polly and my parents bought her when I was born. I wouldn’t support buying an animal today and keeping it caged, but we’ve grown up together and Polly’s life and mine are intertwined. She’s seen and heard all the Nolte secrets. All of them. And is remarkably unfazed and not damaged by it!
Polly is not overly fond of women. She prefers men – although she is a bit of a femme fatale. Many a man has been lured into thinking she likes him, only to be bitten to the bone, with Polly giving her rather evil chuckle afterwards.
She is smart. Super smart. She and I have many a whistle competition (Polly always wins with a much wider repetoire). She loves country music and find classical music calming but only for a while. She still calls “die Engelsman” which she learnt 40 years ago when Steven came to South Africa. Sometimes she talks like my mum who died six years ago. Or my dad. Which is rather comforting. I think she misses the old telephones which she rings perfectly. She has to have a granadilla every day – else she sulks (I have stories of where to get thsi fruit out of season – and am now trying to grow them in my garden … ) Lockdown has brought new joy as she loves joining in (dominating) Zoom calls.
46 years is a long time. And I hope we’ll have many more discussing politics and art.
My dog Rubicon is also old. 18 or so in dog years. Human years makes her as old as the people you read about in the Guinness Book of Records. She’s a miniature Doberman Pinscher. I got her a few years after my previous dog, Pleats, died. Pleats was nearly 20 and I was not sure I could ever open my heart to another dog. Hence the name Rubicon – Rubi for short.
Rubi was part of a trio … once I got her, a few days later I got Mika and Kimi – two toy poodles from long time family friend and legend poodle breeder Auntie Gemma. I had to put Mika down 18 months ago as her organs were failing. It was just before Christmas and we had a special last day together. Once shouldn’t have favourites but Mika was mine. Kimi was a tiny dog who was my mum’s shadow. When my mum died, she was at a total loss made slightly less by Rikus spoiling her. She died a year ago.
And so, now it is Rubi and Polly and I who have our Woodburn Lodge lockdown routine. Which makes me very happy.
Animals really do bring joy and comfort. And while I know that having a pet is a decidedly middle class luxury, I am so grateful to have grown up in a home where animals were a part of our life. Whether a tortoise or klipspringer (I kid you not) or hedgehogs or Silkies or dogs (never cats), I have always had pets. They’ve taught me the value of unconditional love. And that our grief is the price we pay for the joyful times.
These blogs are a way to pay it forward and form part of CN&CO’s belief that the world can be a better place – and we all have a responsibility to make it so. Read other blogs from the series here.