Harriet, Timmy and Dixie the duck

Yesterday morning I asked Amelia what she might like for Christmas. Her reply was “poo poo!” (followed by much guffawing). As Big-P pointed out, she is a true McCluskey-Robertson when it comes to her sense of humour. So when I pressed her for a more serious answer she announced; “I think I might like a pet! Maybe like a hamster!” which is all good and fine but we don’t have hamsters here in Australia.

When asked to reconsider she suggested a “Guinea-rabbit”. Hmm. Perhaps even trickier.

Amelia later asked me about the pets that I had when I was a kid and she asked me where they are now. I told her that I was pretty sure that ducks don’t live much longer than 20 years so Dixie has gone to a better place (or has helped a tree grow which is the other way we talk about the after life at the moment). But Timmy is a different story. Timmy used to hibernate under a huge pile of lawn clippings in our backyard over Winter and one Spring – which was his usual time to reappear – he didn’t emerge. The clippings were removed only to reveal that Timmy had completely disappeared. Mum told us he had probably decided to head back to his original home on the Murray River. I have since had serious doubts as to whether he would have got there or not as it would have been quite the trip for a slow moving tortoise from Adelaide… but maybe, just maybe he is alive still somewhere – after all, the most splendid Harriet, former companion to Charles Darwin accompanying him on his trips on HMS Beagle, turned 175 yesterday. Amazing!

16 Responses to “Harriet, Timmy and Dixie the duck”

  1. kate.kearney@anu.edu.au

    love the site, have been reading it instead of working today and yesterday! I think the reason you can’t import hamters into Aus is because they use the eggs of hamsters in a sperm viability test and while they can’t ban the procedure itself, you can ban the importation of hamsters. Or at least, that is what my friend Melissa told me during our science degree together. Could be nonsense, but it makes a good story. My bet is for the guinea pig, they make cool squeaking noises and are small enough to hold, especially in little hands.

  2. frana@theage.com.au

    Long live Timmy. Your post made me realise that I’ve always had a pet – since the day I was born (RIP Tuppence). But getting the right one is tricky. I know they’re a little dull, but as a kid, I loved my pet gold fish…it never did learn to talk, though.

  3. lady@strathconn.com

    First let me say, I love looking at your drawings.
    But what I really want to know is, why don’t you have hamsters in Australia?

    Can’t wait to find out what pet you settle on for Christmas.

  4. loobylu@loobylu.com

    I can’t find much info online, but it seems that importing hamsters into Australia is actually illegal. While I don’t know for sure, it might be because they are technically vermin, and Australia’s climate would be very favourable to their fast and furious breeding.

  5. jon@gottshall.com

    Very interesting about the tortoise, Ms. Harriet.
    Pets are very good companions. My daughters enjoy our four cats and dog. We’re planning on getting some hooded rats, next. What a mix!

  6. lynne@gingermog.com

    I have a vito on the guinea pig idea, at least having a pregnant one. When I was a kid in nursery much to our three year old delight the school got a couple of guinea pigs for us all to enjoy. Our cup of joy was complete when a little while later the mommy guinea pig had a whole loads of sweet little babies! Imagine our horror when we arrived one morning and made a bee line to the cage to discover no cute babies…? The mommy guinea pig had eaten them in the night!!! 27 years later I’m still scarred :0

  7. wardomatic@comcast.net

    I’m wondering what we’re going to do when Ava wants a pet. We have a fiesty 14 year-old black cat named Baby, who basically hates everyone save for Andrea and I, and poor Ava can’t stand her. Even little Ezra has gotten into the act of yelling at Baby to get off the table or sofa. “Bahh!”
    And sorry about Timmy. I suspect he’s is still alive and making his trek to the river.

  8. martine@alphalink.com.au

    I’d suggest a kitten (or better still, two) rather than a guinea pig or bunnies. Bunnies aren’t really good pets for young children. They can scratch and they usually end up living a sad life in a cage at the bottom of the garden. If you have them as house bunnies they are much happier (see http://www.rabbit.org/index.html), but they are more work than a cat. Plus, if you want to go away for a holiday, it’s much easier to put a cat in a cattery than have someone come around every day to tend to your pets. Good luck with whatever fluffy friend you get.

  9. laurajcarroll@gmail.com

    What a pity about Edward. I loved that post from a while back about him flying up the curtains. I think cats are far and away the best domestic animals, but admittedly it’s a bit of a lottery whether you get a nice cat or an evil bastard.

  10. kricketson@gmail.com

    guinea pigs are cute (we had some as kids) we have chooks now – and the kids love them – they are so tame and the kids just carry them around like they dolls

  11. bagel47@hotmail.com

    well i’ve seen harriet and she eats hibiscus flowers it was really cute. happy b’day!!

  12. citabriag@yahoo.com

    We had two dogs when my daughter was born, now that she is older she has her own school of 11 fish and two parakeets (plus now our one dog). My uncle has ferrets, but I think they just smell WAY too bad to have them as a house pet. I say try a fish, they are the easiest pets to care for, for the little one to help with. And no worry about scratching. Good luck in the pet hunt,

  13. janisville_@hotmail.com

    Hi, I’m a new fan of your blog and hamsters are awesome as beginner pets – but if you can’t get them there, how about chinchillas? They’re like giant hamsters with tails – it’s better if you can get them off the breeders rather than the pet shops. Hope that helps.

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