watercolor portrait of an green male alexandrine parakeet.

Living with Different Companion Animals

Living with Different Companion Animals

Companion Animals are Agents of Chaos

Creating a mixed companion family is tricky. There's a small point left out of most conversations about animals and humans living together. The human and their sanity. Like any good pharmaceutical advertisement, I'll give the fine print out now. You will not lose your sanity if you blend different species of companion animals into the human lifestyle. You will lose other things. Clean floors. Wood door frames. Couch space. Chair space. Foot space. Personal space. Shirts with no holes. Socks. Shoes. Peaceful evenings. Peaceful days. Peaceful mornings. Backyard sod. Front yard sod. Fences, trees, bushes, flowerbeds, and a few potted plants. You'll spend money like a drunk in Vegas, at times. You'll probably lose a goodly portion of your blankets at night, while you sleep. You'll wake up to find a snoring fur beastie wrapped like a corndog in corn bread. But it's really your bedding. There may be a parrot in a covered cage griping out loud. In your direction.

Sanity is debatable. An existential question best reserved for those that care to write about it. I do not. As a species we live too short a time to worry about that detail. What others think of us is none of our business. On the universal calendar of time/space we are not a blip, but barely a breath. Best to move forward. Immediately.

I sat at a red light, on the way to the grocery store. Watching the world, who had green, go by. I pondered people waiting to cross the street. Birds on the powerlines. The sidewalk that bridges Tinney Creek leading to our house. I watched a few ibis forage the lawn in front of a bank building. It's a long red light. Timed for pondering.

Halfway through my ponder, I saw her. She was standing on the opposite side of the street I was waiting to cross. Two fingerless gloved hands holding a scooter's handlebar. Right and left, ready to take off with a push. One foot dressed in a pink and yellow explosion of geometric colors, rested on the scooter platform. It's left mate on the pavement. Her hair yellow, not blonde. The tips black. Her makeup; gothic punk princess. She wore an orange velvet jacket over a T Shirt filled with graffiti colors. She wore black leggings hugging thin legs. A slight, short stature, marvel of a woman. She pulled her hood up over her head as the lights were about to allow her to cross four lanes, toward me. She was brilliantly living. She was at least seventy years. Her smile was easy.

I find myself in the produce section of the grocery store not long after crossing those four lanes myself, thinking on a gothic punk princess. Which slips to seven parrots with very specific preferences. Which leads to needing to remember to stop at the meat section to get raw broth bones for the dogs. The after-dinner mint for dogs. Which reminds me to check when the Pasta Wheelies will be delivered by Amazon. Do I need backup pastas? Which there really isn't any such thing. But I am committed to stand in the dry pasta aisle fantasizing Felix, our African Grey parrot, finding these other shapes in his bowl tomorrow morning. Pondering his response to long pastas; Bucatini, fettuccine, pappardelle, spaghetti, linguini, tagliatelle, vermicelli. Or the short pastas; Campanelle, casarecce, cavatappi, fusilli, radiatori, rotini, elbows, farfelli, gemelli, penne, rigatoni, orecchiette, ziti, conchiglie, orzo, or ditalini. Only rotelli will do.

I bring myself back from the depths of imagining piles of pasta strewn on a floor where dogs forage to eat as much as they can as I grab a broom to fight them for dominance. Ridiculous thought experiments. DaVinci Signature Pasta Wagon Wheel Pasta Wheelies are the only Felix Approved Pasta.

What? I'm not crazy enough to give him the wrong pasta.

Kathy LaFollett is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.


  • Do you cook Felixes pasta wheelies, or does he like them straight out of the box?

    Katherine Boylen on

  • Jonelle, that’s for a box of 10, 16-ounce bags, not one pound. I fixed the product title on the preview to make that clearer.

    Kathy on

  • 27.00 now for a lb of wheelies? Jeesh. When did that happen?

    Jonelle Pionegro on

Leave a comment

* Required fields