Sunday, May 2, 2010

When Your Kids Have Fur, Feathers, and Shells

“Are you awake, Mom? Mom, you awake? Mom, wakey wakey. Mom.”

Yep, just a typical morning in the Wisdom household as my son does his wake up thing. Except when I open my eyes I see a little white furry face with black button eyes while a cold nose nudges my cheek.

No, my son doesn’t need a shave. Barney’s a three-year-old white mini-Schnauzer whose idea of waking me up is sniffing my face and nuzzling me until I’m alert enough to climb out of my nice comfy bed and take him downstairs so he can go outside.

And while he’s outside, I’m hearing “Awake here!” That means my other son, Syd, our twenty-eight-year-old Amazon Panama nape parrot, wants to be uncovered.

If I could just teach one of them to fetch coffee, because I can’t get it until they have their ‘me’ time.

Some people don’t believe in treating your critters like humans wearing fur, feathers, or even shells or scales. You’ll even hear the dreaded “but he’s a dog.” Yes, he is, but you’d be amazed how much those little guys understand.

And all our guys have minds of their own.

Barney came to our household last summer when he was lost in the neighborhood. It took three weeks to find his owner, I was heartbroken to return him, but two days later the owner called me and asked if I wanted him. You’d think he’d always been with us. When people hear me talk to him, they think I’m talking to a human. He’s smart enough to know what I’m saying and he’s very vocal. And many times he’s happy stretched out in my chair with me when I’m writing. Friends told me Barney was sent to me since my beloved Chihuahua/Yorkie, Bogie, was going on eighteen and showing declining health. Bogie went to Rainbow Bridge in January and Barney did offer a lot of comfort then. And he still does. Although he’s only twelve pounds, that little guy does a great job of hogging the bed and it’s “no, you move” when I want more room. He seems to think my side of the bed is also his even if he has his own blankie on the bed. :}

Syd has a habit of coming upstairs if he feels neglected. Nothing like hearing a “hi!” and seeing him walk into my office, ready for his share of attention and his playpen.

Luckily, Barney’s smart enough to stay out of beak and claw range. Syd’s been featured in a past book and I know he’ll show up again.

They’re not my only kids. There’s also Florence, a twenty-four year old tortoise we’ve had since she was a baby that our avian vet gave us. We’re talking tortoise with attitude. She believes the house is hers. She wants wall-to-wall carpeting, A/C and central heat. During the summer she has her Dogloo and hibernates in the guest bathroom during the winter. Definitely a conversation piece for visitors especially since she snores when she’s hibernating. Florence may use her senses, but if I call her she will come since she follows the sound of my voice. And she loves nothing more than having the top of her head rubbed. She’s also appeared in one of my books.

They’re not my pets. They’re my babies, my muse at times, and I love them all. That’s why they show up in my books.

My kids won’t be honor students, but that’s okay. They’re tops with me.

Even if Barney does his “Mom, are you awake?” at 5am, because he’s decided he’s got to go outside.

What about you? Do you have furry, feathery, scaly, or shell kids?


PS: This is the cover for 50 Ways to Hex Your Lover in Spain. Isn't it gorgeous!

I'd also like to add that Hex in High Heels won the Romantic Times Reviews Choice Award for Best Paranormal Book for in Indie Press!


  1. Love the Spanish cover. Great color and art.

    Thoughts in Progress

  2. Before I had kids, Linda, I'd talk about how they were just like puppy dogs that I'd raised...uhm, that didn't go over very well with folks with kids. But they are just like kids!!! Only furrier! :)

  3. I don't know if I subscribe to the pets-as-children model, but I do think that having something small and dependent to shelter, to nurture, to give affection to--something that makes YOU get out of bed because THEY have to go to the bathroom--I think it's good for people.

  4. I have a house full of cats, and a barn full of cats and horses and then there's Peaches who keeps all the other outside "babies" in line. Great post, Linda. Our pets are our children, no matter what anyone says!

  5. Great cover!

    I have a tabby, and she is so sweet but a scaredy cat. She used to be a feral cat. You'd think after 13 years she'd trust me, but we're working on it!

  6. I'm all about the animal babies, Linda. I'm definitely a dog person, but one of the best pets I ever had was a sulfur-crested cockatoo named Martha. I don't think many people realize how affectionate and intelligent birds can be; she'd nestle her head under my chin while I read and spread her wings over my shoulders in an avian "hug." She's now a mommy herself in an aviary since she needed a little romance in her life, but one of these days I'll have a bird again.
    And I never knew tortoises liked to be petted, or would come when called! Great post! Your household sounds a little crazy and a lot fun!

  7. Oh Linda! That Spanish cover is Que Maravilloso!

    Like you, I don't know what I'd do without my "girls." They really do keep me going sometimes. And as my BFF and I always say, our pets are "the only true love money can buy!"


  8. Thanks Mason!

    Very true, Terry. And I've taken care of friends' kids who had worse manners than my critters.

    MM, you don't mind getting up. I nurtured one of my dogs for four years where his seizures were usually at night and we'd be up for hours afterwards while he reacquainted himself with the house and yard. He was healthy otherwise and the seizures weren't constant. It was my mom thing.

    You're right Cheryl!

    Thanks Shana! That's it. You have to be patient.

    Joanne, we took care of a friend's sulfur crested and he was wonderful. Syd is very affectionate. We used to have more parrots and a greenwing macaw, but they're all out on breeding loan and are happier now.

    You got it AC!

  9. I've never been a fan of human kids, and hubby and I decided many years ago that we'd only have furry ones. Current count = two dogs, three cats, and a variety of fish, eels, & a salamander. That's probably why I love seeing your "kid photos" so much more than anyone else's! :)

    Thanks for sharing these adorable pics!


  10. Thanks Tawna!

    That's us. At one time we had 22 birds that included various parrots, macaw, cockatiels, conure, and canaries.

  11. Your doggie is so cute!

    I grew up with a zoo in my house. There are few animals we did not have at one point in time. My dad loved wildlife and did some refuge, so we even had an owl, half-breed wolves, and a hawk at one point. My sister inherited that love and has done refuge and raises exotic birds.

    Me? I keep it simpler. We have cats and dogs, but also fish and a gecko. I confess to not being a pet-is-my-kid person, but I do love my animals and understand how vital pets are.

    Great post Linda!! Thanks for sharing your babies with us :)

  12. Thanks Sharon!

    I've cared for wildlife in the past and then there was the time we took a baby canary to Disneyland where he stayed in the kennel since I had to go in there and handfeed him every few hours. The crew in there were awesome.

    And we have five cats that like to hang out in our front courtyard where Barney can't get to them.

  13. Congratulations Linda!!

    I also have furry children. I just got a kitten for Christmas (I know, I don't know what I was thinking either - must have been too much eggnog). He is destruction on paws, but then he cuddles and purrs and I decide to keep him anyway!

  14. Congrats on your big win, Linda! Many more awards to come your way, I'm sure!

    And I love hearing about your furry kids--you know very well about my furry little one, Bootsy, who, as most typical teenagers, can't stand his mother!

  15. That's terrific on the new furry baby, Amanda!

    Yep, they'll tear something apart one moment then give you the 'I love you' purr the next.

  16. Very true, Danielle on Bootsy. But you know deep down you are loved.