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Thoughts On Childhood Pets + Stefan Gevers

Let’s talk about childhood pets for a moment but first, what comes to mind when I say this word. Snoopy. Perhaps you see the beagle who bounces gleefully in the Peanuts series. I see a darling green and gold budgie that was one of my best friends growing up. Snoopy, whom I named after thinking Woodstock was too silly for a bird name, was always there for me – never fail. He loved to soar around my room, rest of my shoulder, crawl up beneath my chin and cuddle. He loved to play with his toys and had a fondness for bells. We had our own “call” – the moment I did it he would fly to me no matter where he was in the house. Once he escaped to the great outdoors and it was my call that got him back inside again.

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My parents had dogs and cats but that little tiny bundle of happy was all mine. I was responsible for feeding, cage clean up and maintaining his water dish and ensuring his toys were in good shape including his cutterbone which I loved because I always thought it looked like the coolest little bird surfboard and I would daydream about taking him to the beach near our house to ride the waves on it. Silly kid but cute still. I still smell his feathers if I think hard and whenever I smell birdseed, even today which feels like a million years later, I think of my little bird with the very big personality.

After he died, which was so unnecessary (my mother decided to put him under the shower to wash him), I wasn’t the same for awhile. I was mad at my mother. Mad at life. My grades suffered, my heart — split in two. He was my first and last pet. After his death, I couldn’t imagine getting attached to another animal. I’ll never forget seeing him as he laid lifeless at the bottom of his cage. I took his limp little body out, placed him on a soft towel and tried my CPR moves – the ones I had learned in health class (of course that was ridiculous but I was a little girl). When nothing happened, I cried for so long that he was dry by the time I had composed myself enough to bury him. I then prepared a shoe box, included all of his favorite toys, wrapped him carefully in one of my favorite blankets I had used for my Barbie doll’s bed, and placed him inside closing the lid and knowing that was the last time I’d see him. I then rode my bike for 20 minutes down to the intercoastal waterway to bury him in my thinking spot, where I went when I needed to have peace and quiet. That is why today, whenever I see a parakeet, a sweet little budgie of any color, I feel warm and happy inside though obviously mixed with sadness. I think of my little feathered friend. And then I think about if I should get a pet again someday.
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Now that you have some history, and thanks for listening to my sad story, perhaps you know why this artists’ work touched my heart this morning. Isn’t art supposed to evoke emotion? Stefan Gevers captures the personality of birds so well I think. And the colors are vibrant and joyful. Born in The Netherlands, Stefan lives in Melbourne, Australia where he creates gorgeous art and hosts workshops. I found out about Stefan from the blog Studio Home here thanks to a reader, Jay, who highlighted this site just today.

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Did you ever have a childhood pet? What kind was it? What did you call it? Did you feel then as though you had the most special relationship in the world? As I begin to think about my baby growing up and eventually wanting a pet of his own I wonder if I should get him something that tends to have a longer life span or a shorter one. Any thoughts?

(photos: stefan gevers)

Posted by decor8 in Arts + Crafts on July 25, 2014

Your comments...

  1. Karolina from H O U S E L O V E S commented
    July 25th, 2014 at 12:19pm

    I had a dog but we have to give is away as my father was allergic, now I have cat and I love it :) i could go on,on, on how cute he is (although i am not a-whole-world-cat-lover, just mine is cute)
    Karolina from H O U S E L O V E S´s last blog post ..house tour: biurowy // office

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  2. cassie commented
    July 25th, 2014 at 1:31pm

    oh i feel you! ihad budgies as a kid, too- oscar, rugby, and tweety….. tweety was the sweetest and learned to say hi. she lived a long life for a budgie and i was so sad when she died. i woke one morning to her on the floor of her cage. :( these images are beautiful! thanks for sharing!
    cassie´s last blog post ..Click It 6

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  3. decor8 commented
    July 25th, 2014 at 2:31pm

    @Cassie – Ohhh the names! Oscar, Rugby, Tweety… So cute. I can’t believe Tweety learned to say hi. That is the cutest thing ever. Did you get more birds after that?

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  4. Yuri commented
    July 25th, 2014 at 2:45pm

    being a child, I spent the whole summer at my grandparents’ cottage house in mountains. I made friends with the most beautiful dog there – a white Carpathian shepherd dog. He took care of our sheep and protected them from the wolves attacks… So nice memories! One day I’ll create the collection of abstract paintings dealing with my childhood memories.

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  5. Beth | Daily Dog Tag commented
    July 25th, 2014 at 4:50pm

    I have had many pets. Growing up we had dogs, but as a child I also had my own pets: a parakeet named AJ, hamsters and a couple of pet mice. The first year we were married, my husband bought me a cockatiel for my birthday. She was the best present. It is hard to lose a pet, but you never forget the joy. Now I have 3 dogs and my children have a rabbit and a tortoise. I love pets and think they make a great addition to the family (barring allergies.) I would recommend getting a pet with a longer lifespan. I’m partial to dogs and birds. I hope when the time comes, you’ll consider getting a pet from a shelter. My second recommendation would be to get a pet from a good, ethical breeder.
    Beth | Daily Dog Tag´s last blog post ..Engaging Tails: Rico

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  6. Sarah commented
    July 25th, 2014 at 5:07pm

    Growing up my brother and I begged my parents for a dog, with know success. So, once we grew up, it did not take us long to get dogs of our own. My dog Daisy, a Saint Bernard is going to be eleven this fall. I can’t image my life without her, though she is not trained to be, she really is a therapy dog to me. As she gets older I know the day is coming closer to the time I will have to say goodbye to her. I will be a basket case and the moment will probably be one of the hardest thing I will have to go through in life. However, the blessing and love she has added to my life I will be able to hold on to forever. I say if your son whats a pet, go for it, they will enrich his life and yours too!
    Sarah´s last blog post ..Red And White Carnations

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  7. mary commented
    July 25th, 2014 at 8:30pm

    Oh, those budgies! I too had a green and yellow budgie whom I DID name Woodstock. She was my first great bird love, and left me after just one wonderful summer, to be followed by Bluebell, a prince among budgies, who ruled our house for five years. I will love them both forever.

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  8. Emily commented
    July 25th, 2014 at 8:52pm

    The saying goes that friends are like your chosen family, but the same is really true for pets. Whether a pet has a long or short life, the connection you have with it will last forever. Maybe it’s a hermit crab that a little boy will be crazy about, or maybe it’s a dog. Whatever he wants to spend time with and take care of, if it works with you, that’s the pet to get. Or, maybe the pet will choose you like our rescue animals have!

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  9. Kaylee Coles commented
    July 25th, 2014 at 10:36pm

    I used to drive my mom crazy because I wanted EVERY pet. I’ve had 3 parakeets, a guinea pig, 2 cockatiels (one still living; he’s 9 years old), 2 dogs (one still living; he’s 7 years old), a frog, hundreds of fish, sea monkeys, a hamster, etc. And although obviously the dogs live the longest, I don’t know that I’d necessarily only buy pets with long life spans for my kids (hypothetical, since I just got married and don’t have any kids). Death is tough and I remember being very sad when my pets died, but I cherish all of my memories with all of my pets and the experiences taught me that even though death makes us sad, we can slowly heal and get better (not to mention that my mom told me I’d see my pets in heaven. Not sure if that’s true or not, but I like to think so!) I think whatever pet you get your son, he’ll grow so much from the experience. You could even start with something small, like a fish or an African dwarf frog. They don’t live too long and are super simple to care for, but that way he could practice being responsible for something before you make the leap to something that’s more of a long-term commitment.
    Kaylee Coles´s last blog post ..Summer Bucket List 2014

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  10. Wrenaissance Art commented
    July 26th, 2014 at 1:02am

    Thanks for introducing Stefan Gevers’ work–so fab! And such a broad mix of subjects.
    Regardless of what kind of pet you all choose for your family, I’d keep in mind that it will be Mom or Dad doing the lion’s share of daily care. ;-)
    Wrenaissance Art´s last blog post ..Current project: Polyphemus moth

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  11. Lucy Chen commented
    July 26th, 2014 at 1:03pm

    Stefen’s birds are so beautiful and elegantly painted!

    I used to have a cat when I was living with my grandparents before I turned 3, but then did not really own a pet in my childhood.
    Lucy Chen´s last blog post ..Painting Oncidium Orchid

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  12. Irina commented
    July 26th, 2014 at 6:08pm

    I had a big German shepherd dog, who was basically my brother since I was an only child growing up with grandparents. Loved, loved, loved that dog! He stayed with my grandparents in Moscow when I moved to Berlin as a teenager and I remember crying on a bus stop after they called me to say he was dead…

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  13. Andrea commented
    July 27th, 2014 at 12:09pm

    My very first pet was a budgie too! His name was Gogo and he learned to say his name. He became very old. One morning, it was around christmas time, he acted very strangely and I knew something was wrong. I took his cage to the living room and he began to flap very wildly. After that he collapsed and died. I was so terribly sad because I loved him so much. Even now I’ve got tears in my eyes.

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  14. decor8 commented
    July 27th, 2014 at 1:54pm

    @Andrea – I LOVE that name GOGO! So cute and especially that he learned to say it. Riot!!!!

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  15. Ju commented
    July 27th, 2014 at 11:52pm

    Hi Holly,

    So pleased that you love Stefans work as much as me! Super talented :)

    And its great to have you visit my down under part of the internet xo

    Cheers,
    Ju

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  16. Blenda commented
    July 29th, 2014 at 9:33pm

    my first pet was a cat named Mittens and then a little fluffy dog named Pebbles after the Flintstone Pebbles. Having a pet was one the best experiences of childhood.
    Blenda´s last blog post ..Art Blog Hop

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  17. GreenCanary commented
    July 29th, 2014 at 10:48pm

    I have two rambunctious green-cheeked conures – Oliver and Rose – and one very large, very adorable cat named Seamus. Being part of a flock is a hard but rewarding experience. Most people don’t like birds because they’re messy and loud and demanding, but they are also incredibly sweet and smart and funny. I love my feathered babies. They drive me crazy and they make me happy, all at the same time :-)

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  18. Melissa de la Fuente commented
    July 31st, 2014 at 2:21pm

    Oh…what a sweet but, sad story! Absolutely! I had so many pets growing up ( dogs, cats, a bunny named Kathy & a hamster. But, none meant as much to me as our dogs. I loved all of them but, a few of them will always have my heart in a special way. And when they died…..I was devastated every time. I remember one of my dogs, who was bought especially for me, -Matilda- she was such an adorable, sweet little thing. SO much personality and so much love. She got sick and died way to young and I remember sobbing in my bedroom as my dad buried her outside my window ( where I had asked him to) and my oldest brother hugging me while I cried. Yet, that would never stop me from getting another dog and have 3 right now! ( call me crazy, it’s ok :) They mean so much to my girls ( in addition to the 2 frogs and hamster, named Chocolate) I think it gives them a sense of responsibility, empathy and of course, tons of love and companionship. Maddie, Luna & Yuki bring so much joy, laughter and love into our lives. I think every child should have a pet at sometime in their lives, it gives them SO much. I don’t know if the lifespan makes any difference, it is never enough no matter how long they live.
    xo
    Melis
    Melissa de la Fuente´s last blog post ..Inspiration: pink & more pink

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