I was raised in Redcliff and Harare, Zimbabwe. We were lucky enough to have big gardens and many trees at home where my siblings and I could explore and climb, playing games and spotting all sorts of wonderful creatures like monkeys, moles, geckos and chameleons or even owls and sometimes snakes. We would copy the cries of the crows (gunguo), comparing them to ones of the birds that visited less frequently. My parents were also keen on keeping farm animals at home so ducks, chickens, rabbits, a peacock once, were a part of growing up. They also got us dogs at an early age so we had 4 running around and keeping us company, each child responsible for their own.
My dog Pinky passed away when I was 16 and I was so heartbroken. I had her for as long as I can remember up until that point and I haven’t had the heart to get another doggy since. Animals become part of the family and I believe they teach compassion, responsibility, and companionship. They are also great buddies on adventures!
We are now looking for a pet for Nunu. My daughter loves animals! I noticed at an early age her interest in the neighbourhood squirrels and cats that visit us. This is great for us because we love most animals and bugs (no spiders welcome even though they drop by uninvited). Our garden is small so we have have fun exploring in the city as a family (while following Covid lockdown regulations).
The aquarium was a great start. She has been twice and loves to say ‘fishies’. Kirstenbosch Gardens has also been lovely, she gets to chase the ducks!
Our good friends also invited us to Imhoff Farm in Kommetjie with their little one and Nunu could spot all the animals from her farm book. She also got to feed the baby goat and had a mango sorbet after!
So now we are considering the best pet for our little girl. We would have loved a puppy for her to grow up with but our yard may be too small for a doggy.
Luckily, one of our close friends was kind enough to bring their pet rats over for Nura to see and she both loved them. Dad wasn’t too keen but we will try to convince him. Rats are active, smart (can learn tricks), they clean themselves and don’t need much space (we would have to make a multi-level play unit for them). They don’t bite and these particular ones love to sit on the back of your neck and shoulders.
So while we still try to convince my husband to get rats, any suggestions on pets we could get?