Animals have always been my greatest love. I remember that as a small child, not allowed pets because of my asthma, I used to keep pet ants and had imaginary pet friends!
My first real pet was a white-naped jay called Cancão. Curiously, in Brazil it was believed that taking care of these birds would cure asthma. I felt deeply sad when I released him and he didn’t want to leave its cage, dying shortly after. I must have been six-years-old at the time.
After my parent’s divorce, we lived in a house for the first time. Then I convinced my mother that my love of animals was bigger than my fear of asthma (and I eventually got healthier). My first dog was Mina, a stray puppy I found on the streets, who didn’t live beyond its third month. She was already my best friends. My first cat, Tom, too was a stray.
Growing up in a large house in Brazil, we had a fair deal of cats and dogs, but also fish, three chickens, two tortoises, and later even a pet monkey. In one of happiest times of my life, I shared a roof with a couple of beagles and eight cats, some of whom where dropped as kittens at our door over a raining day, and hand raised by me. How I love kittens and puppies!
In 2007, already in London, me and my husband adopted a bengal cat, the lady above. She came to us aged 2 and a bit, after refusing to be a breading queen. Miss Bojangles is currently the landlady of the house, and was my reiki guinea pig, way before a goat came into my life!
Ah, I also have 3 adorable adopted ELEPHANTS: Chyulu, Naipoki and Kenia. Yes, that is right, baby elephants. I fell in love with these wonderful creatures in an Elephant Nursery run by The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi, Kenya.
The Baby Elephant Foster Parent Programme is open to all, whether you have met them or not. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is a wonderful charity that is playing a key role in conservation not only of elephants, but also rhinos. See here how you can help: it is very easy for UK and US residents, and also possible for the rest of the world.
I think I have always had an animal activist vein too. I used to confabulate with myself plans to set the school’s parakeets free, would tell adults off if I saw them mistreating animals, and would not let people kill flies and insects near me. I was too “animellow”, my grandmother used to say. More recently, I became vegetarian, which resolved an inner conflict: loving animals and eating them. I hope to switch into a vegan diet sonner than later.