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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Living on a Farm is Traumatic Part II

I've probably dealt with more animal deaths than most people have animals. As in, more of my animals have died then what most people own in the first place. And it can wear on you. It still wears on my mom, considering she's dealt with all those losses, plus the ones I haven't been around for, like 4 of her cats dying plus the best dog in the world.
I'd start with the bunnies we owned at the old place (where I lived from ages 4-8 and dad started his business), but I have no idea what happened to them. They were Bugs, Buster and Babs. (Original, I know) and they were fairly wild. I remember letting one out once in the fenced backyard and it took like, 30 minutes to catch it.  I also can't tell you about the llamas. I think we must have sold them off so they don't count. The tally begins at the new house, the place I lived from ages 8 to18.
Spikers was my cat. Spike for short. I believe we'd gotten him from my Aunt Joyce, whose cat had kittens. I also think Spike was the only tuxedo in the group and that's why I chose him. Although, I could be wrong - my parents often correct me on memories I don't remember because I wasn't actually there and I just thought that I was. Who knows.

Anyway, Spike was one of, if not the first, animal to go. He was probably about 15 when he got sick, which was what I now believe as kidney disease/failure, which is common in cats. He was bulimic, then anorexic, (and I say that to mean, he would throw up all his food and then stopped eating completely, basically) and my parents finally put him down because they couldn't afford to run a multitude of tests on an old cat.
I also owned ducks. I'll try to keep this story short cuz I could go on forever about this. Buddy, one of our dogs, brought home a baby duck once. We nursed it back to health, and bought another pair to keep him company. I named the mallard Chipper, because he chirped as a baby. The other two ducks were different. Hector (who I originally named Heather until my parents told me it was a boy) was a Penciled Indian Runner. Like a pinto, but in duck form lol very pretty. Huey was a Peking duck. You know, what they make food from.  One night there was a storm. The next morning I go say hi to my ducks and Hector and Huey come running up to the edge of the cage freaking out. Chipper had strangled himself under the fence in the night. He was gone. Oh boy did I cry. (I was in the 6th grade I remember). He had still been a duckling and so I never saw him grow up. My parents went to the store and bought another mallard. (technically, they are Rune ducks when not wild). I named him Chipper Jr, but still called him Chipper or Chip-Chip. All three grew into adults nice and healthy.  Huey and Chipper and Hector roamed our property happily, never leaving because I fed them.

Until one day, I come home from school (I always used to ask "Hows Chipper?") and mom would say fine. Then one day she said "but Huey..." something had gotten to him and eaten him. His feathered remains were down by the creek. So, we caged Hector and Chipper up. But Hector was mean. He was some kind of nasty alpha duck, and Chipper was a sweet little wimp (at least Chipper Jr grew up to be a male) but Hector would like, grab his head and mount him and always bite at him and stuff. So, because I was sick of Chipper getting picked on, I decided it was time to let Hector go free. In the end, it was a death sentence because Hector's wings were permanently clipped. He could never be able to fly. But in order for Chipper to not be alone, I managed to find someone down my street who owned ducks for their eggs and stuff. They had grown up wild, while Chipper was a tame as a pet. They let me have a female mallard for free. It took me a long time to catch her. Ugh. I named her Robin, and they had many eggs together which I unfortunately had to throw away (especially after one made me sick after I ate it). My parents wouldn't let me have any baby ducks, dammit. So now, when I get picked up from the bus stop, I would ask mom "so how's robin?" fine, she would say, until one day she said "But Chipper..." Yes. While I was at school, something had gotten under the fence and killed Chipper. I was more than devastated. Even my mom cried. It was the worst day of my life. They had even gotten me a sympathy card, and we'd buried Chipper's remains and had a cross and everything. Robin was grief stricken (it was obvious, honestly). We couldn't keep Robin now. She was alone and in danger. Besides, she was wild and wasn't really a good pet. My parents found some people who owned free roaming ducks and we gave her to them. Happy ending, right? For a while. And then they told us that Robin had disappeared. Sigh. Oh well.
Okay, so anyway, there was my one rabbit, Russell, who we kept in a cage by the edge of the forest (in hindsight, not a good idea), who eventually got eaten by something. I wasn't that attached, luckily.
Also, besides Rambo and Snickers, my favorite pony, Rusty (a rust colored pinto & Snickers's backup for pictures) also passed away. I forget from what or how. I cried with that loss too. Snickers, Rambo and Rusty were basically the original 3 ponies that we'd had from dad's start, back when I was about 4-5. And we'd had that trio the longest.
Our dogs that we'd had I think even longer than Spikers, both died as well. Beau was mom's purebred Pomeranian. Buddy was dad's Cocker Spaniel/Poodle/Wiener dog mix.

That's a lot of losses for a child to bear. I still think about Chipper sometimes. A duck can be a really good pet when brought up to not be afraid of you. I used to hold him, and pet him, and take him for walks. I used to pick him up and hold him out, and he would pretend to fly (kind of like how you do to babies, except Chipper would flap his wings). He would even nibble on my finger and I'd call them little kisses. He was the best pet I'd ever owned. *sniff*

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