My dogs are a large part of my life and I know many people who have pets that are part of their own families. These pets can be dogs, cats, turtles, fish, or even a pig. We love them and our lives are focused on them. No vacation is taken without making arrangements. I have seen a photo of my daughter's fish tank fastened in a set belt while taking it to the "babysitter."
The famous and infamous have also had pets. Some a little odder than others.
President Andrew Jackson was a tough "bird" and had a pet parrot that learned some bad habits from the war hero. Parrot copy sounds and words that they hear often. This bird heard a lot of cuss words, so it seems. During the president's funeral, the bird had to be removed because it let loose a string of cuss words and shocked the attendees.
Re-gifting is okay if the recipient is responsive to it. President John Quincy Adams received a gift from the Marquis de Lafayette that was given to him from a grateful nation, for the help he gave George Washington to achieve American independence. The gift the Marquis decided not to keep was an alligator. The president kept his pet in a bathing tub in the unfinished East Room. Adams used the alligator to pull some pranks on visitors before it was homed elsewhere.
Cambridge University did not allow dogs....so Lord Byron brought his pet bear to university. After Percy Shelly visited his friend in Venice he wrote: "Lord B's establishment consists, besides servants, of 10 horses, eight enormous dogs, three monkeys, five cats, an eagle, a crow, and a falcon....I have just met on the grand staircase five peacocks, two guinea hens and an Egyptian crane." Lord Byron at one time also kept a wolf named Lyon and a dog named Boatswain. Boatswain died of rabies and was memorialized in marble.
I have seen many backyards with ponds full of carp. In ancient Rome, the aristocrats kept moray eels in theirs. It is reported that Lucius Licinius Crassus adorned his favorite pets with jewels and wept when the eels died.
Do you like quiet pets? How about a pet lobster? The French poet, Gerard de Nerval was on the coast one day and rescued a lobster from a net. He named it Thibault and took it back to Paris with him. Lobster can stay out of water for a few days, so Nerval would tie a blue ribbon around Thibault and take him for walks around Paris. "lobsters are peaceful, serious creatures, who know the secrets of the sea."
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