I love animals, I always have.
We had a few pets as I grew up. My mum was given a canary a few months after I was born, Tweety would sit on your hand and sing to you if you whistled to him. I don’t remember him ever living in a cage, he had a tray with a perch and a mirror on the floor of our front room. He was free to roam and would sit in the bay window, often getting too hot, fainting and bouncing on the carpet, it didn’t seem to affect him adversely.
I remember my sister having a budgie and we acquired a guinea pig, which was the smallest pup of a litter born during the 1966 world cup. My eldest brother had brought the school guinea pigs home for the summer holidays to look after, not realising the female was pregnant. The school let my mum keep the smallest one, Tiny (our pet names weren’t the most creative) lived in a ‘hutch’ in our living room. It had a glass front and was built at head height into an alcove at the side of the fireplace. He would squeak at us whilst we were eating dinner for pieces of raw carrot or cucumber.
We even had a pet stickle-back at one point which had been caught in a local pond, it would take tiny bits of meat from our fingers. Unusually, we also had a tame starling which my mum had rescued as a youngster. It lived in a cage at night in our back porch, during the day it flew free in the garden and we turned stones over so it could eat the bugs underneath. I can’t remember how long it stayed with us, just that one day it never came back, I’ve always hoped it went on to have a family and wasn’t a victim to the local cats.
Today, my family and I have three cats and some fish in a pond. My love of horses has only grown stronger, I am so lucky to be able to play polo.