Tuesday, October 2, 2007

the Matriarch

I am by no means an animal lover. I pretty much think all animals are just dirty. And they lick you, and get hair on you, and track dirt all over. It's gross. I dislike cats most of all. They REALLY rub up on you. Also, I'm allergic to cats. My dislike of animals runs so deep that I rarely even think "cute animal videos" are cute. I usually find them obnoxious.

My sister, on the other hand, couldn't love animals more. She is a fanatic to the nth degree. She will someday be in a career involving animals, though I don't know what she'll do in that regard yet. She's terribly appalled at my dislike of the animal kingdom and even questions if I hate animals. For the record, I don't. I do not wish bad things upon animals. I do not hate animals. I do not want animals to disappear from the earth entirely. I just don't want to have any pets. Nor do I want to be forced to think they are cute. I think may other things are cute. Like babies.


Then I met Meerkat Manor. I was hooked instantly. I haven't missed an episode. I loved the story of this family struggling to survive in the Kalahari Dessert. There were times I cried, like when Shakespeare died. There were times I held my breath, like when Flower evicted her daughter Mozart. There were times I cheered, like when Mozart found her own tribe to breed within and survive. There were times I shuddered, like every time I saw scary one-eyed Hannibal.

Then, there was Flower. I had a love/hate relationship with her. She was harsh. She cast out her daughters if they got pregnant, so that she could remain the dominant female and retain breeding rights. She led her family with the cunning art that's needed in such a harsh environment. And she loved on her new pups with each new litter. Sometimes she had grace and forgiveness in her, sometimes revenge and brutality. Throughout it all, she was a brave leader for her family.

This week I sat and wept as she bravely defended her newborn pups as any mother would. She met her match in a cobra who showed no mercy. From a person who really wouldn't call herself an "animal person", I have fallen in love with these meerkats, and will sorely miss Flower. The Manor won't be the same; and neither will this "non-animal person".


Abby said...

How strange. I had no idea what this show was about, that it followed a meerkat family and had names for them and everything. I had seen the commercials, but that's it. Sorry for your loss. Kinda weird saying that. But I identify with your animal feelings. I am not a pet person either, mostly just for right now because it is another thing to take care of and kids trump animals. We have always had pets that I liked, just didn't spend a whole lot of time with. So I guess I'm more of a take 'em or leave 'em kind of person. What really annoys me is people who gush over their animals- especially small dogs. Nothin' good about a small dog. If it's that small, shouldn't it be a cat? Big dogs make much more sense to me. But I don't have much to say about meerkats. Maybe next time I'm in Nashville where the cable is (at my parents' house) I will try to check out the Manor.

Olive said...

Oh, Abby, you have to check out Meerkat Manor! Check if your library has it. It's totally a family show. It's so good and I'm sure kids would love it too! There are deaths in it, but even that can be a teaching point with kids. I read somewhere that it's Animal Planet's #1 show, so it must be good with families.