city critters

in the past week (well, actually the past month if we count the backstory i’m about to give you) we’ve had some really amusing run-ins with animals we absolutely didn’t expect to see in town. (for those of you who have forgotten or didn’t know in the first place,
i’m going to "remind" you that i live in a city. a pretty big one.
we’ll call it a major metropolitan area.) commence backstory!

on easter sunday, as you may recall, we were dealing with the emotional turmoil of finley’s diagnosis, and we were trying to nurse him back to "stable" with the force-feedings and the hovering over him and whatnot. we were doing his feedings about once every four hours, and in between we were trying (and sometimes failing miserably) to just leave him alone in his fort. by sunday we were on day 3 of force-feedings and he was starting to perk up, but he still had another 48 hours before he’d be eating again on his own. ANYWAY my various family units made it clear that we were still welcome at the various easter festivities, but i’ll be honest and say right now that i didn’t want to go. i felt uncomfortable leaving finley alone, even if it was only for a couple of hours, even if all i would have been doing during that time is sitting downstairs while "leaving finley be" upstairs. but i digress!

eventually we hatched a plan that had us swing by my dad’s brunchy celebration for a couple of hours, then come back home for a couple of hours, and then swing by my mom’s dinner (which was also my sister’s and my husband’s birthday party) for a couple of hours, then come back home. this way we didn’t have to leave finley alone all day–just a couple of hours at a time–and we could pretend that we were feeling social. (also, my husband could eat his birthday cake and get his presents, har har.)

so, after we had gone to my dad’s and then come home to sit with finley for a couple of hours, we set out to visit my mom’s party already in progress. as we made our way along the lakefront and were mere seconds away from getting onto the freeway, something very curious caught my eye: there was a large female turkey standing in the grass. on the lakefront, next to the freeway! how weird is that? i wouldn’t have believed it if i hadn’t seen her clearly with my own eyes, just poking through the grass for something to eat as birds are wont to do. she was by herself, but seemed quite content.

the amusing part of this backstory is that this isn’t the first time we’d seen a random wild turkey in an unexpected place. one day, when we were still living in austin, a girly turkey wandered through our condo’s parking lot. we were totally shocked, and we took a bunch of pictures of her, and eventually she grew weary of us stalking her and she flap-flap-flapped herself high up into a tree, where she rested for about 30 minutes and then flew away.

so i  don’t know what this means: there are more turkeys in cities than you might think? random turkeys are drawn to us in particular? who knows.

okay, so fast-forward to this past monday. i came home from my day at the humane society and wandered to the basement to stow my Shoes With Millions of Animal Germs On Them (i am hella paranoid ever since finley’s vet mentioned the word toxoplasmosis) and toss my similarly soiled jeans in the laundry. suddenly my husband was downstairs saying, "there’s a turkey in the tree!" and i was all, "there’s a who in the what now?" and i bolted upstairs to check it out. sure enough, there she was: a giant wild turkey lady in the big tree behind our house. i put on new jeans (heh) and i went outside to try and get some good pictures of her, but it’s really really hard to take pictures of a giant bird that’s a million feet up in the air, because you mostly just get silhouette shots. oh well.

much like the austin turkey, this one got sick of me staring at her and she flew out of the tree after a little while. i tried to find her (i thought i had an approximate idea of where she’d landed) but to no avail. still, i wonder if she and the easter turkey are one and the same, and i really wonder what she (they?) are doing around these parts!

and if the turkey adventures weren’t enough, let me tell you about a funny thing that happened to us on sunday. we were driving around our neighborhood, and some neighboring neighborhoods, looking at houses. we were just kind of poking around, winding through whatever streets we felt like, looking at architecture, and making note of for sale signs, and contemplating going through open houses just for kicks. anyway, as we rounded a corner in a particularly nice area, my husband suddenly exclaimed, "there’s a pig!!" and sure enough, there was a gigantic pot-bellied pig munching on the grass in his yard. now, i realize that pot-bellied pigs make great companions, and i know they exist in some cities, but i have to tell you that i’ve never seen one before, just out in the yard like a dog, and i found it FASCINATING for some reason. i made my husband drive past him three times, and eventually i wore him down enough to let me get out of the car and pet the pig (after we saw someone else do it, heh). unfortunately we didn’t have our camera with us, or i probably would have tried to sneak some pictures of him, too.

i’m going to keep my eyes peeled from now on, because at this rate, i’m bound to see a donkey just wandering down the street pretty soon.



  1. In an aging suburban neighborhood where I once lived, I once took a walk and ran into a woman grazing her miniature horse mare and foal on her front lawn. Darling!
    I love these incongruities.

  2. Speaking of pigs! I just wanted to tell you that the Farm Sanctuary was utterly fantastic. I petted Kiwi for you and you were right, a mini Ramona for sure! They, in particular, were beyond sweet and stole my heart. And Ramona and Kiwi have a new friend named Fergus, the cutest pot bellied pig that was picked up after found wandering around in a residential neighborhood. No one claimed him, which I can’t even understand when he was the cutest thing ever. I’m still gushing over the entire experience.

  3. YaYaChou–madness is also a sponsoring parent of ramona! in fact, that’s why she went to visit. 🙂 i’m a sponsoring parent of kiwi… maybe we could all have a piggie-sponsoring family reunion sometime!

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