Sep 1, 2009

The Reservoir Animal Lovers Society

Seems that a lot of people think I hate animals and that I'm a bit heartless and that I should be falling into line and getting all gaga over Buckley the Dog, Sam the Koala, Bibi and Raden - the hot underwear model. (An aside - a fair number of hits since this post have come from Google searches like 'Raden in his see-through underwear’, and the even more mirthful ‘transsexual blogpost’.)

I want to set the record straight. I don't hate underwear -shit- I mean, animals. I've always had pets. Archie, Lewis and Tyson have pets and will for the time they live under our roof. In fact we have 8 animals on our property. Even more if you count the Sea Monkeys.

Animals have their place in a well-rounded human’s life. Here are some personal stories that will make it clear that I am an animal lover and hopefully get all you angry emailers (mostly PETA freaks) off my back.

1. When I was eight my pet cat 'Flippy' ran away. I searched for her for days. Never gave in and finally found her in my next door neighbour’s lounge in front of the heater. I was just so happy. When I got home I shaved her back and wrote my name on her with a permanent marker. That's how much she meant to me. When she died of hypothermia two weeks later I was devastated.

2. I once caught a mouse on my Nana and Pop's farm and with childhood enthusiasm, called it Mousey. Over a period of minutes I put it in a bucket of water, pretended to fish with it by tying a string to its tail and buried it in sand to watch how long it would take to climb out. It was a warm day and I fell asleep in the sun. When I woke up Mousey was dead. Here's the clincher and the proof that you're looking for – I felt bad about it and admitted my crime to Nana. I was very angry when she laughed and told me to give it to Flippy.

3. When I was house-sharing in Melbourne I bought my housemate Kylee a little kitten as a present. She called it Schmitten. I accidentally killed it while she was out. I knew Kylee would be heartbroken so I threw the body over our fence. Because it landed on the neighbour’s roof in plain view of anyone walking by I experienced a high level of stress while I helped Kylee search for the little kitten all over the neighbourhood. Several times Kylee looked up towards the sky, as if to see Schmitten flying overhead (which she would have seen if she’d been there earlier) but somehow missed seeing the body on the roof. I swear I saw the little bastard turn its head towards me, more than once.

4. We used to have two ducks, Floppy and Flap-flap. They were so cute when they were tiny and yellow. I loved them so. Problem was they grew into massive white monsters who shat like automatic tennis ball launchers. In no time at all, our entire backyard was a residential pile of shit. The final straw came when I slipped in it and broke my leg, only days before a powerlifting competition. It was their time to leave but, being the animal lover that I am, I relocated them to a local park with a big pond and dozens of other ducks where they could frolic in virtual duck heaven. A week later the council did a massive culling of all the ducks. Floppy and Flap-Flap frolic no more.

All these stories provide very strong evidence that I am an animal lover. But the clincher has to be the guilt and horror I live with to this day –

At night I feel a cold feline body settle at my feet, I hear the pitter-patter of tiny paws on my roof, I see my pillow sinking under a mousey weight and hear ducks shitting with the force and consistency of machine gun fire.

Why do they come to me to die? Why do they come to me to die?!

And here is number 5 in My Backyard - The Series

My Backyard 5 - Reflections of a Broken Leg

My ducks are uncoordinated,
more suited to swimming than they are to walking.
Their legs are at the back of them.
Their necks carry their heads too far from their bodies.
They are, it seems to me, in a perpetual state of falling forward.

When I am bored, I walk behind them with intent.
They waddle away from me.
They waddle slowly at first
but the faster I stalk them
the faster they waddle.

I’ve worked out, over a few months,
that if I raise me knees with each step
the ducks will see this as an increase in pace
and they will waddle faster than their natural structure allows.

There is something I find rewarding
about increasing the pace of an animal’s gait –
my ducks are armless,
they struggle with balance,
I hate to see them suffer
but when they reach their ultimate speed –
when they fall over and quack
I like it.

I like it –
that I can cause that to happen is affirming.
Most things are beyond me,
there are things I have no control over
but when the ducks reach their maximum speed,
when they fall over and quack as if their lives were over
I like it.

I like it.

I do.

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