Pets, who needs ’em. A lot of people would say they do. They’d tell you that they enrich their lives. I’ve never been much of a pet person, but growing up on a farm I definitely have a love for animals. Did we have pets on the farm? Hm, some may have considered them so, but each creature on the farm had it’s purpose and expectation.
Some creatures are just not meant to be pets. A fact I came to understand at a very early age.
Throughout my time growing up on the farm we had a wide variety of farm animals. There were dairy cattle, chickens, pigs, the usual small creatures like dogs, cats, bunnies and at one time we even boarded a couple horses for our friends whose barn burned down. But of all the creatures I had a part in taking care of my favorite were the sheep.
My younger brother loved the dog and enjoyed wrestling about with it on the yard. I would pat the dogs head occasionally, but most of the time it would be out doing its job of rounding up the animals or just laying about.
My little sister loved the cats, especially the kittens, which were cute when you could get near them. Usually when they were first discovered they did nothing but throw a hissing fit until they got use to our presence, or until Mom started spoiling them with cow’s milk. The mother cat was always out hunting for mice.
As for me, I could spend hours sitting among the cuddly lambs running my hands over their curly wool coats, and listening to their timid bleats. I never tired of watching them bunt at their mother’s udder for more milk and then watching them jump about when their tummy was satisfied. They would spring about as if on a trampoline their tails wriggling to my delight. My sisters and I identified them by their colored noses and markings and gave them each a name. And we of course had our favorites, perhaps it was the one with the chocolaty brown coat, or the one that was so tiny the others would always push it around, or maybe it was the one that was so friendly and would usually come running up to you the minute you came to the gate. But I found out quickly that these lambs were not meant to be pets. When March arrived many were loaded onto a truck and shipped off to market, the others quickly grew into older ewes who would eventually have lambs of their own. So it was unwise to become attached to them.
Pets, or domesticated animals as they should more properly be referred to, as the link provided attests to, have over the centuries helped to better the lives of mankind. Not always, however, in the manner that one would think of should the animal be referred to as a ‘Pet.’