This tendency runs in my family. When I made a visit home with a law school beau many years ago, my dad regaled my hapless boyfriend with his endless litany of Animal Stories. These stories starred not just our own Noah's Ark of pets, but other people's animals and livestock, and wild animals. I'd heard these stories for years, so I didn't pay too much attention, but I did notice when my otherwise night-owl boyfriend excused himself to go to bed at 9:00 pm. The next day, he said,"I'm sorry I just went to bed, but I couldn't listen to one more Animal Story."
A few years later, when my parents moved from New Mexico to Idaho (New Mexico had clearly become overrun with too many people and too few animals, so they set out for a less populous, more rural state), I learned on one visit that something inevitable had happened. We were driving to my aunt's house, via the back roads, when my mother said "Which left do I want to take?" and my father replied, "It's the one by the house with the three-legged dog." "Oh, of course, the three-legged dog" confirms my mother, with no hint of sarcasm, mockery, etc. Yes, my parents had begun to give directions by animals.
So, with such influences in my life, you can see why I might find this story irresistible:
Swan, Paddleboat Getting Back Together
Mar 26th, 2008 BERLIN -- Petra the swan has a new home and so does her beloved swan-shaped paddleboat.
In 2006, Petra, a black swan, became so attached to the boat — shaped like an outsized white swan — that she refused to leave its side at a lake near a zoo in the German city of Muenster.
Petra and her paddleboat were taken to the zoo.
Zoo officials finally parted bird and boat last week after Petra settled down with a real white swan and the boat was returned to the lake. But the romance was short-lived. The zoo says that, on Saturday, her new beau flew off and sought out the company of other black swans.
A zoo statement says that Petra "appears to feel lonely" and is swimming around in an agitated state. The solution? On Friday, she will be taken back to the nearby lake and her faithful paddleboat.