By Simba De Greater
It’s World Animal Day!
World Animal Day is celebrated today because today is the feast day of St Francis of Assisi, and he is celebrated as the patron saint of animals. He preached that humans have a duty to protect nature and all the other beings that live alongside humans. And this duty comes from being stewards or guardians of nature, as well as being a part of nature themselves. After all, humans are just another species of animal.
There is a famous story about St Francis and a wolf, who had been worrying the people of Gubbio, in Perugia. But St Francis told the townsfolk that the wolf was worrying them not out of malice, but out of hunger. So he told all the townsfolk to feed the wolf, and brought peace to all the town.
St Francis was also well-known for his love of birds and he would often preach to the birds. Sounds a lot like my human, better known as Grand Human. Actually, Littlest Human does it too. One morning, the Lorikeets had finished all their breakfast at the kitchen window and they were talking away, wanting Littlest Human to mix up some more. But Littlest Human was on the way out to visit Middle Human in the hospital (it’s been quite an exciting-in-all-the-wrong-ways winter here in Oz), and so Littlest Human said, “I’m sorry, you want more? Well, I promise I will give you some more when I get back.” They seemed quite happy with that and, sure enough, they were all there ready for more when Littlest Human got back.
As you probably know, Littlest Human has now gone back to London, with Middle Human hopefully on the mend. But the day before Littlest Human went home, we all got to celebrate my gotcha day together! Four years! It was so momentous, that even the Brush Turkeys came to my party. Now that I am now nine years old, I think I am going to start lying about my age, so I have been wearing a hooded sweatshirt emblazoned with an “8”. That will keep them guessing. Anyway, I haven’t yet recounted my last week of walks with Littlest Human. So, now I will.
With our exciting-in-all-the-wrong-ways winter here in Oz, Littlest Human certainly found it all a bit overwhelming at times. The City Hall clock chimed (it can be heard from our house) and Littlest Human, forgetting where we were, said, “That’s strange, I thought they had silenced Big Ben for maintenance.” Ha ha! And then, when having a wrap in a café, Littlest Human was wondering why it was so hard to cut with the knife and fork and why it was so chewy, only to realise that was because of a failed attempt to eat the greaseproof paper it was wrapped in!
But apart from Littlest Human’s obvious displacement anxiety, we always had a lot of fun. And, just like St Francis of Assisi, we talked to a lot of birds and made a lot of friends!
We usually had quite a send-off for every walk. Even when Grand Human wasn’t there, Helen Reddy the hen would usually walk us to the front gate to see us off. But she never goes beyond the gate. She always runs back again like a good hen.
And at the park, the Eastern Rosellas would usually hang around, waiting for Littlest Human to fill the water bowls. They would then have a long drink from the fountain, and thank us with some lovely Rosella music.
Speaking of music, one day, on an early morning walk, there was a man having a bagpipe lesson in the park. He was very good, and it did nothing to help Littlest Human’s displacement confusion. The park is always full of music of one kind or another!
And we all had a lot of fun for our last week of walks. Yum Yum enjoyed a lot of his regular games … the A Frame, the Tunnel, the Dog Walk, the Table, zoomies … and of course, one of his favourites … the travelling poo. When Yum Yum does a poo, timing is everything, especially on the part of the poo bagger. First, Yum Yum likes to travel when doing a poo. And he walks and walks and walks. So, he covers quite a bit of ground. And secondly, if the poo bagger isn’t quick enough, Yum Yum runs backwards, flicking ground backwards and skywards and everywherewards, until he has almost certainly hidden every bit of poo. This turns the whole enterprise into one of those hidden object games. But Littlest Human was never beaten. Although it did make for quite a spectacle, because Littlest Human would always have the bag ready during the whole “process”, following Yum Yum around like a poo groupie.
Benny maintained his usual vigilance of “persons of interest”, especially those with shopping trolleys or shopping bags, because Benny’s special interest is food shopping.
We also saw our fair share of “exercise” on the human agility course that is in the park. It was mostly in the form of planking, as it seems that “exercise” for humans is to try and increase their body temperature by lying flat out in the sun on the stretching tables.
And one day, on the way home, we walked past a group of people talking and one suddenly gasped, “Sorry, I’ve got to say hello to my mate, Simba!” And it was the lovely security guard that we met a little while back! We had a good long chat again, and I got lots of nice pats and ear rubs. Humans can be grand.
But it got quite hot towards the end of Littlest Human’s visit and so we became like everyone else. We started driving to the park. But this was also because Middle Human finally got out of hospital and so at last we could all go to the park together! On the first day out, Middle Human had forgotten to remove the hospital wristband, and so looked a bit like a festival goer who’s desperate to let everyone know, “I’ve been to a festival!” and so they never remove the bands for weeks. Even to a dog that likes to sniff possum poo, that seems a little gross. And I’m really not sure Middle Human wanted everyone to know, “I’ve been to hospital!” But we had Middle Human back in the park with us all. And that’s amazing.
Wristband and all.