We have become parents, again. It happened last evening, and let me tell you, it was quite a surprise. No, we haven’t suddenly discovered the secret to male-on-male procreation. Not for lack of trying, mind you, cough cough. But let’s not go there.

One of the great truths about volunteering for an animal shelter, as Mark does a few days each month, is that you sort of agree to become temporary housing for the animals that the shelter can’t house. If you’re not careful, and don’t have a partner that is impossible and cruel and have no heart…

The resource that any shelter worth anything lacks most is often not money but space. There are too many animals, all the time. There’s a constant torrent of animals that have been badly treated. A common danger for anyone that works at a shelter is to suddenly have twelve cats, six dogs, birds. One of the volunteers there now go under the epithet ‘duck lady’ because she has become stuck with four ducks that she has reared from when they were chicks.

This hasn’t been the case with Mark because I have been uncharacteristically firm with him about this. Watson and Lady are enough. When we lived in Auntie’s cellar, I could rely on the fact that Auntie certainly didn’t want a whole menagerie in her house. Now that we don’t live there any more, the rule established there have carried on here. Until now.

Yesterday evening when he came home, he brought two budgies with him. One blue and one yellow, in a cage. They haven’t shut up since they arrived, and worse both Lady and Watson have been very curious about the new strange fowl in the house. Now I’m faced with the prospect of having to be mean and inconsiderate against animals that need care and attention, but I have to voice my opposition to him bringing animals home. It won’t work; not for us.

And for that, I feel like a big Neanderthal brute. I feel like I’m personally condemning Bambi to go and live with the hunters that shot his mum in the film. But really… turning this house into a standard shelter volunteer house where we’re tripping over cats, dogs, budgies, foxes, badgers and cranes…

No. Just, no. And he’ll have to take the birds back, even if the birds are incredibly adorable and look at you with big curious eyes as they happily chirp on and flutter about in the cage…

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