By John Matonich
I have pretty much had pets all my life. We had house dogs when I was growing up, but also raised beagles for rabbit hunting. My mother liked birds too and I remember canaries singing in the house for many years. She also liked fish and the fish tank had quite a variety to look at. I think even my dad enjoyed watching the fish.
My bride and I seem to be carrying on the tradition. She loves pets as well and we have two dogs, two cats and she has two horses. Thankfully, I don’t have to deal much with the horses, but I try to help with the dogs and cats. They all seem to get along well and I enjoy watching them play together. The female cat seems to have taken at least a little shine to me and I can expect her to jump on my shoulder and head butt me a few times while I’m watching TV. I also like when she jumps on the bed and purrs until she finds a comfortable spot and falls asleep.
Steph is definitely the matriarch of the family and all the animals follow her around. One of our dogs will sit and whine for a while when she leaves and watch by the window until she comes back. I know her horses are the same. I have been at the barn where she boards them and watched her whistle and they will both leave their buddies and come running. My mother seemed to have the same effect on animals and that always impressed me.
I thought a lot about our pets and how they make our lives full when I read an article about some senior citizen housing putting up pens and bringing in chickens for the residents to adopt and take care of. I would never have thought that a chicken could take the place of a dog or cat but the residents were very fond of their adopted pets and take pride in caring for them.
One gentlemen resident when interviewed said he thought it was the dumbest idea he had ever heard of when the program was announced but had to admit that once he reluctantly joined the program, he couldn’t believe how he was drawn to his new friend. He took pride in keeping the pen clean and the chicken rewarded him with fresh eggs. Sounds like a win-win to me.
The article went on to say how the residents enjoyed the social aspect of what they were doing as well as sharing learning experiences with each other on how best to care for their new pets. It seems like a better alternative to sitting in a chair watching TV.
I don’t think I am ready to add chickens to our fleet of pets, but I am glad my bride didn’t see the article as I know she would have been researching pen locations and trying to convince me how much better naturally raised eggs are compared to store-bought. She may be right, but I don’t eat many eggs and don’t think the chickens would work well in our house when the snow starts falling in October.
And that’s the situation as I survey it …
After a 35-year career downstate livin’ amongst da trolls, during which he built a successful engineering and surveying business, John Matonich is back home in da U.P. His column will appear here occasionally, don’tcha know. His book “Surveyin’ Da Situation” is available on Amazon.com.