Today is the Feast of St. Francis, so all the little animals are front and center in my heart today.
I don't know about you, but I don't know what I would be without my pets. Sure, I would still be a wife and a mother and a daughter and all that, but my pets, without fail, fulfill that certain little need in my heart to tend to something totally helpless, totally dependent upon me, without any expectations.
I get so much satisfaction I out of caring for my pets -- and without expectation of anything in return. It's different than raising children. You slowly teach them to become more independent and self-sufficient and, without really realizing it, you are preparing them to live without you one day. With pets, it's different. I wil keep my pets with me until their dying day. I don't teach them to strive for anything or expect really anything from them. I can just accept them, and enjoy them, for who they are and revel in their uniqueness, their needs, and their care.
I love to care and fuss over my sweet, little Lester. She's the moodiest little bird, and some days I am her best buddy and other days she wants little to do with me . . . other than to be let her free of her nighttime cage and roam the house, bathing in the dog's water and perching on a sunny windowsill. Here she is, perched just over my shoulder when I saw last sick.
And I love to tend to my pigeons outback. My husband built them the loveliest coop and aviary this summer and when we moved them in, they behaved like giddy little honeymooners. I can see them from my computer desk now and just a moment watching them restores my soul and brings me joy.
And then there are the chickens. I've written about them before. Having them out back is like having four very eccentric little ladies living right in our backyard. They have distinct personalities, but are equally interesting and fun. And when they reward us with eggs, they seem especially proud.
My son has his little creepy-crawlies like the worm farm in the basement and his collection of land snails and a herd (decidedly not the scientific term) of Chinese fire-bellied newts, and, while I haven't bonded with them personally, I love them, too, for the joy and hours of entertainment they bring my son.
We have a couple budgerigars who are pretty low key, low maintenance, and unto their own. And we caught a parakeet who was flying wild when he shouldn't have been, and he has rewarded us with . . . well, hmmm . . . we're still looking for his redeeming quality. To say he would serve as a good wood-chipper, the way he bites, is an understatement.
(That's him on the right. . . no fingers in the cage!)
My son won a goldfish this year at the fair, as I wrote about previously. Ferris is a happy little fish and easy to care for. I have a betta who is beautiful and keeps me company on the kitchen windowsill. Due to his location, I named him Olive Oil. This galls my son because he is a male. I enjoy that.
And then there's the dog. Our sweet little dog. He is gentle and patient beyond all measure, and I should strive to be more like him. He could use the help running off all the uppity cats in our neighborhood.
So today was the blessing of the animals at our parish. We rounded up a sampling of our menagerie and brought them for blessing. How funny we must have looked with various cages, crates, and containers. (Everyone else looked quite reasonable with one dog per family.)
How blessed I felt as we all drove home to the tune of a scratching chicken, a cooing dove, sloshing water, and a whining dog. Such bounty.