Sunday, 14 March 2010

He Talks To The Animals….

Apart from writing, I can safely say that my one and only other real passion in life is for animals. And not just the cute and fluffy kind, but even the really ugly ones as well. Those with teeth and pincers and eyes on stalks, all kinds of animal life fall within my love radar, I'm not all about the hot ones, you know?

I am just fascinated by the natural world. How it adapts and thrives to fit its surrounding. How they care for their young (well, most species) with a dedication that puts us to shame. And just how amazing it is that such things of beauty actually live on the same planet that I do. I have made a vow with myself that when I am older, and work and money are no longer a priority in my world, I will see out the remainder of my days seeing as much of it as I can.

I want to visit rainforests. I want to hug a monkey. I want to see the sunrise in some far flung country as its inhabitants drink from watering holes. I’m going to do this, sooner rather than later. I’m just going to do as much as I possibly can. To me, all of it is a gift and it is up to me if I am going to take it or not. And I will.

As most of the animal world I encounter now is mainly based here at home, I still can’t help but go all gooey with any kind of animal I meet..

I can’t pass a dog without bending down to pet it and make best friends and then try and steal it if the owner isn’t looking. If I go over to somebody's house and they have cats, rather than spend any time with the person I am meant to be visiting, I will be rolling around on the floor with their feline pets, rubbing faces with them and bonding. It is a common sight to see me sitting on someone's sofa with cats lying on me like I am some Dan shaped cushion.

And I love it.

I donate money every month to animal welfare charities, I get teary whenever I read of any form of cruelty to any animal, and I have even adopted a silverback gorilla called Ndahura from a charity called Friend A Gorilla.. Its brilliant. You get monthly updates on how him and his family (who are called the Bitukura) are doing in the jungle, and you also can log it and get satellite updates via GPS as they move across the land. Its awe inspiring stuff. My only worry is that one day I get a knock at the door and find a huge silverback sitting there with an overnight bag and a handwritten sign that says “Daddy”. That would be a tad hard to explain to the neighbours, and more importantly, my cat. But on the plus side it will make me 70% more attractive to women as it’s a proven scientific fact that women like men who have gorillas for best friends. And you can’t argue with scientific fact. I think that was proven once by scientific fact or something?

My love of all things animal started at a very early age at home. Apparently when I was a toddler, I would enter a room holding our cat Tibby by its tail and wearing a huge smile on my face. That cat never did like me much though. I could never understand why?

After I began living on my own, I ended up sharing my house with my family cat called Tinker (I didn’t name him, blame my mum for that one). Now Tinker was a strange cat. The most loving and people friendly animal you could imagine, he also had the rather unfortunate habit of being a little bit…..well, shall we say, dirty? He just didn’t know how to clean himself like cats normally do. He was a longhair and would regularly come in covered in leaves and grass so he resembled one of those tumbleweeds that you normally see rolling across the desert in westerns. His unhygienic ways earned him a name change from Tinker to Minger, and then finally it just settled on The Ming. He lived to the ripe old age of 23 and I miss him like crazy.

The cat I have at the moment is Dotty. Long term readers will know that I have spoken of her before, and even included pictures because that how I roll. Now Dotty is a high maintenance cat. She hates everybody but me, and even then she doesn’t like me that much unless I am feeding her.

I delivered Dotty about three years ago when her mum Holly got pregnant. I didn’t know she was pregnant. I came home from work and found her trying to get my attention by literally meowing right in my face. I got her a pillow to lie on and about five minutes later her lower half convulsed and a beautiful little kitten popped out. Being the stupid man that I am, I was elated with joy whilst fighting back tears and also not trying to throw up at the same time.

Now it’s just me and Dotty living in perfect harmony together. Unless she is getting fed or demanding some form of attention, she can normally be found cleaning her genitals somewhere in my flat. And the weird thing is (and maybe those who live alone with animals can back me up on this) after a long period of time, you end up speaking to your pets like they were another human being. Every night when I come home, I always have her rush to the door to greet me and I end up asking her how her day was as I hang my coat up.  I mean, why????????

Me: Hello Dotty how was your day?

Dotty: Was OK actually. Mooched around the living room for a bit, had a snooze in your sock draw for about six hours, then took a massive shit in my litter box. You can probably smell it now?

Me: My day was good as well. I ended-

Dotty: That's all very nice but feed me.

Me: OK.

The thing that amazes me most about the animal world is how much better they all are in comparison to us. True, we may have invented the Big Mac, instant coffee, and Kanye West, but if you match up these monumental achievements with anything within the animal kingdom, well, there is no contest really. And yet we humans, in our infinite wisdom, decide to rape and plunder the natural world until its inhabitants are fighting for their very survival.

We have all this wonder, all this beauty round us, and all we can do is destroy it bit by bit. It really makes me sick to my stomach and makes me think that we really don’t deserve it. We really don’t. It’s such a huge planet and yet we can’t find a way for every living thing to live in harmony with each other. I’m sorry for ending this post by turning into a hippy tree lover, but in all honesty, as I species, I hate us, I really do. We are like toddlers, just going round smashing everything up just because we can. It amazes me to think how much better the world would be if we just weren’t on it? We hunt things to the brink of existence, we destroy habitats as we spread out across the land like a virus, and one day it will just turn round and bite us so hard on the arse we will just look up with huge stupid expressions on our faces and shrug our shoulders and just go “Wasn’t me? Wasn’t my fault.” 

Bloody was though. All of it.

Especially Kanye West. For that there is no excuse.


Susan at Stony River said...

Cheers to Dotty, and to the lions when you get there!

I had to google Kayne West. Google wants to know if you mean Kanye West. Hell I don't know, that's what happens when you don't have a television.

Gorilla Bananas said...

A male gorilla would never think you were his father, but he'd be more than happy to help you get laid. Just take him to a singles bar and let him do most of the talking.

hope said...

(Psst, Susan. K.W. is a rude and arrogant "singer" in the U.S. who likes to step in front of young girls who have just won an award to tell the world that someone ELSE should've won said award).

Sorry, Dan. I figured you are being too kind her to have to explain Kanye West. If he were extinct, no one would miss him.

On the other hand, I admire your tenacity! Hug a tree, welcome home your gorilla! Sadly, cats and I don't play well together: they think short people are scratching posts and I don't agree. Anyway, here's another way to "give" to the world without coming out of pocket.

Every time you "click" on one of their links, from rainforest and oceans to specific animals, a corporation makes a donation. Just don't sign one of their petitions. The government contacted me about that once: turns out what I signed and what they sent were worded um..differently. [They used bad words I wouldn't have].

Now, take a nap. Tomorrow is Monday. Have a good week!

hope said...

"too kind HERE".

Not her. No one can be too kind to Susan. :)

jules said...

I am the same way. I pet everydog I meet and try to steal it if the owner is not looking!

Eva Gallant said...

I've had several dogs and cats in my lifetime and I do love them, but now I'm at a stage where I no longer want the responsibility of a pet; I want to be able to up and leave at anytime without having to think, "What will I do with the dog (or cat) while I'm gone for 2 weeks?"
Your kitty looks very lovable!

Alice in Wonderland said...

I've always had cats or dogs, and of course our horses, and I cannot imagine my life without them.
I have lost count of the amount of kittens that I have helped to deliver, and nature is truly wonderful!
I wonder if you watched those documentaries about animals in the womb? They were really fascinating! The tiny baby Joeys struggling to get into their Mothers pouches was amazing! And were the dogs and even wasps were really interesting!
At the moment, I have just had my two newest kittens "Seen To", but that still hasn't calmed them down any!
Oh well! They get their next vaccination shots on Wednesday!

Anonymous said...

Dude. Please... you HAVE to tell me what on earth that...THING is at the top of this post. He is SOOOOOOOOOO ridiculously UGLY, that I find him to be extremely endearing (yeah - you should see my husband!). I want one. But what IS it!?!

Ellie said...

That bat rodent thing is almost as cute as a french bulldog. I need one.

Lo said...

Your blog is one of the most beautiful, profound and perceptive pieces I have ever read. You and I share the same love of the animal world and the same distaste and disrespect for the human race.
Congratulations on your exquisitely evolved soul and your writing skills. Let's run away together. (I am 82 years old and I know what's what)

JenJen said...

Oh Dan, you softie. I love it. Well done my friendly...I love learning about you.

aladdinsane12 said...

it is really upsetting that we destroy everything...those poor animals- they never did anything to deserve that.

i, too, try to make best friends with every dog, even ones passing on the street. i used to donate to dogstrust uk- i "adopted" a german shepherd named mickey brown and he sent me letters quarterly. what a guy.

and you would love my apartment- my roommates have 4 cats between the two of them, so there's no lack of cuddling and pooping and shedding and meowing. ever!

J said...

It's great that you feel so passionately about nature and the living things in it. it is indeed a sad state of affairs considering the massive damage that has already been done to this beautiful planet of ours.

You have managed to write a thoughtful post interspersed with subtle humour which I really liked.

Anonymous said...

Dan, you're a really nice guy with a really good blog. It's a pleasure to visit.

Miss OverThinker said...

I loved what Lo said above.. you so running away with her or what?

Very beautiful post, and your cat is just soooo adorable.

scarlethue said...

Dan, can't tell you how many time I've made the same argument. Those words are practically out of my own head. I hate us, too.

Dotty reminds me a lot of my kitty. Well, she's not "mine," since she doesn't like me. She's my husband. She thinks my husband is her baby and cleans him all the time, including licking his toes when he steps out of the shower and his head when he's sitting on the couch. She just stares at me, but it's ok, because my dog likes me better. But yes, we talk to them like they understand us too. Maybe they do. I've never been a cat or dog so how would I know?

Anonymous said...

See, your animal love is one of the reasons you rock! Because animals are way, way more interesting than humans in my opinion and manage to draw much more emotion from me than humans most of the time too. I used to sponsor an alligator in the rainforest. I got his photo and everything. I think people often forget about the animals that aren't furry. And I'm the same way, I can visit people yet end up on the floor with their pets.

I remember my dog having seven puppies when I was about 8. Right before the summer holidays too so I got to spend all summer playing with 8 dogs. I was sad every time someone adopted one of them. My dog was my best friend. My dog dying when I was 21 was the worst day of my life.

I know what you're thinking too. "Of course it was, Veg, no human knew what to do with you." And well, maybe. :)

Yankee Girl said...

I am an animal person as well. I work with animals as a part time job and it makes me so happy.

Dotty looks ridiculously cute.

Now that the weather is getting warmer my dog wants to play all the time. Actually, he wanted to play all winter but I couldn't handle the cold for too long. Watching his ears flap as he runs with his ball makes me giddy with delight.

Lorenza said...

Hi Dan happy to be back! You have not lost the sparkle in your writing! Please visit my blog there is a surprise for you

LOL Lorenza

Kato said...

Awww....that was a great post! As a huge animal lover I can relate!

I have three cats and they are like my children. I know that people cringe when they hear people like me say stuff like that, but its the truth.

I also picked the love of my life because when he was supposed to be coming over to visit me he would completely ignore me and visit with my cats. In my mind, thats true love :)

Dan said...

Susan- Shows you how much I'm down with the kidz.

GB- Will make a note of that. Cheers buddy!

hope- Thanks for the link hope. I checked them out. Looks like they are doing some pretty good things over there.

jules- Glad to see I'm in such good company.

Eva- Understand where you are coming from. I have often in the past thought it would be nice to have a break from having a pet. Just can't really seem to go through with it and end up getting another.

Alice- I didn't see those Alice. When were they on?

huggy- Dunno matey. Just googled ugly animals and up he popped. Cute huh?

Ellie- It is rather cute. Wish I knew what it was.

Lo- You’re a saucy minx, aren't you? Sadly I am taken and still learning about "What is what" Check out a blog called Abodeonethree, he's always up for it.

JenJen- Underneath this bitter and cynical exterior lays a bitter and cynical man who likes animals.

Aladdinsane12- Your 4 roommates cuddle, shit and shed everywhere? I'd move out matey.

J- Thank you J. Always nice to hear something like that from you.

Matt- Sarcy git.

Miss OT- She can be adorable, but she can also be a bitch as well.

Scarlethue- It’s odd but most cats seem to prefer men to women. I've never understood that? Dogs just prefer whoever feeds them.

Veggie Ninja- Nope. Totally get it. Losing a pet is just like losing a family member. Sometimes worse as you can't get a pet to understand who much they mean to you.

YG- What job do you have mate?

Lorenza- Good to see you again! How have you been? Popping over now to have a look matey.

Kato- Never thought of that. What would you do if you met someone you really liked but hated pets? Tough one.

Sharon McPherson: AUTHOR said...

What the Hell is that you've got in your hand?!!!

ladytruth said...

We have a lion park just down the road from us.

Wait, now that I've written that, it actually sounds like we're living in the wild. That's okay with me. Africa is after all the place where all things wild are, right? Okay, whatever.

But I'm with you on the animal loving part. The other day while my husband and I were driving to town I said to him that I'd rather save a hungry puppy standing on the side of the road than a kid and I asked him if that was normal. He just stared at me. I guess the answer was no.

I really, really love my dogs, though. And if I could, I'd buy a farm and rescue every suffering animal I could find. Happy days :)