Pasadena’s menagerie and the people (and dogs) who love them


While at the shelter, Jack came to cuddle with Malcolm almost daily. No, that isn’t weird at all.

I recently got back in touch with my dear friend, Dior, from many, many, MANY years ago. We met while I was doing a college internship and bonded over our mutual disdain for people who say “supposobly” instead of “supposedly.”

Dior got in touch with me over Facebook because she had a rabbit enclosure she wanted to donate to us here at the shelter. I was so excited to hear from her, I immediately invited her to swing by for a tour of our facility.

While she was here, she fell hopelessly in love with about 8 dogs. I’m rounding down, of course, because I don’t want to make her sound like an unstable lunatic (it was more like 22 dogs…so it’s entirely possible that she is, in fact, unstable and looney – but who am I to judge?).

She was not shy about proclaiming her desire, nay determination, to adopt every single one of them. She is so my people.

Over lunch, we launched into an enthusiastic conversation about our pets. She’s fostered dozens of dogs over the years, and if she had her way, she’d have kept them all.

I can totally relate. As it turns out, we share a mutual plight. We both have partners who seem to take issue with our desire to bring home more pets.

“My husband will leave me if I bring home another dog,” she stated forlornly.

“So you live with a monster too?” I asked, stabbing at my salad like a serial killer. “Do you know that Andrew has the nerve to say ‘no’ to me every time I post a picture of a cute animal I’ve decided I can’t live without that day?”

She just shook her head in subdued rage. Since I was clearly in the presence of a kindred spirit, I went on.

“I can think of two instances off the top of my head when he has made it abundantly clear that he has absolutely no interest in my happiness,” I said, somewhat dramatically. “Two months ago, I sent him a picture of a darling goat by the name of Margaret (Miss Maggie if you’re nasty) who I was certain would make a wonderful addition to our family. Know what he said to me?”

She gave me knowing nod.

He said in a flat monotone of a man whose had his heart surgically removed, “We live in a townhouse. Goats can’t live in townhouses.”

I told him plainly that his blatant abuse of logic was both unwelcome and infuriating.

He used the same maddening defense when I expressed a very well thought out argument in favor of bringing home Malcom, the pot bellied pig. And then again with Charlie, an equally lovable pot bellied pig. And again with Francis, a precious 2 month old piglet. We’ve had a lot of pigs this year.

Dior shook her head in obvious pity.

“He sounds just like my husband,” she said, “But it’s probably a good thing that we’re both in relationships with men who keep our animal hoarding tendencies in check. Also, is Margaret still available? I think I need to have her.”

I told her that Miss Maggie went to live at a wonderful rescue sanctuary and is doing very well – and all three of these little piggies went home too. She seemed both delighted and crestfallen.

Again, I can relate.

Then I told her the tale of Walter, the most perfect duck to have ever ducked. Last year, he came to the shelter having been found as a duckling with a broken foot. He had been abandoned by his momma, poor thing. Since he came to the shelter so young, he was socialized to humans almost immediately.

Since I know what great pets ducks can make, I’m always scheming ways to convince Andrew that we should have one. Then Walter came along and stole my heart. He’d hang out in my office during the day while we figured out getting him placed in a permanent home.

He didn’t just steal my heart though. My dog, Oliver, fell hopelessly head over paws in love with him too – so I did what any good pet parent would do in this situation: I campaigned for their love on social media.


It was love at first quack for Ollie and Walter.

Along with a photo of the two playing, here was my post:
“Ollie has fallen deeply in love with his new friend Walter. Theirs is a once in a lifetime kind of love that cannot – will not – be denied. Andrew, I think we need to seriously consider the irreparable damage that would be done by separating these two. Ollie is deaf and blind for quack sake, and he finally has a seeing-eye duck. Do you really want to deprive our dear sweet angel that companionship? #Ollie&Walter4ever”

Hoards of my friends and followers rallied in support of this beautiful interspecies union. Dozens of comments lobbying for Ollie and Walter fueled my campaign to bully Andrew into agreement that this pair could not possibly be separated. It was glorious.

That is until Andrew responded to the thread. In his infinite sarcasm, he wrote:

“I don’t want you to think that I’m ducking my obligation to my stepson, but I must cry fowl on this quack assessment of his interest. Olli’s love will migrate from the poor duck since our dog will cuddle and bond with anyone; I think it’s in Walter’s best interest to waddle away and find something more real than puppy love.”


Walter ended up getting placed in an awesome bird sanctuary where he has plenty of space and ponds to frolic in.

Ollie did move on pretty quickly, as it turns out. He’s a lover, not a fighter, after all. But I’m pretty certain he’s still holding a grudge against Andrew for duck-blocking their love. I know I am.