ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem came out of the June 6, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] ari_the_dodecahedron and [livejournal.com profile] eseme. It also fills the "happiness" square in my 5-1-16 card for the Solo Celebration Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by a pool with [livejournal.com profile] daisiesrockalot and [livejournal.com profile] ng_moonmoth. It belongs to the series An Army of One.


"Such Agreeable Friends"


Operetta was the first to ask
Dr. Syden Caermichael for
a supply of mice and rats.

She wanted them as lab animals,
but she wound up keeping
a pair of them as pets.

"They're such agreeable friends,"
she confided to Weavercreep as
Moon and Marshmallow crawled
into and out of her pockets. "Rats
don't ask questions or pass judgments.
They just want to snuggle with you."

"I see what you mean," Weavercreep said
as he fed a seaweed cracker to them.

Before long, her pair were joined
by his Warp and Weft, because
Weavercreep -- like Operetta --
enjoyed touching things.

From there it spread,
slowly but surely, through
much of the Lacuna.

With the old military regulations
lifted, now there was no reason
why people could not keep pets,
and they had their uses, from
contact comfort to sweet songs
to air quality awareness.

Mice and rats, rabbits and finches
became part of the Lacuna
alongside the humans.

It made life a little easier,
and a little happier, and
much more interesting.

* * *

Notes:

"Animals are such agreeable friends -- they ask no questions; they pass no criticisms."
-- George Eliot

Pets are animals kept for pleasure instead of for practical reasons. This offers various benefits. Understand how to choose and take care of a pet.

Rats are popular pets for many reasons. Note that these social animals do better when kept in groups. Read about selecting and caring for rats.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-12-27 06:21 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
Yes. The small furred and feathered ones have so much to say to the half-bald apes, if we would only listen.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-12-27 06:43 am (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
Yep. Four-foots make excellent therapists... don't know much about feathered friends, other than the longer-lived ones give the term "bird-brain" a whole new meaning... that and some of the parrot species can live as long or longer than we do...

Re: Yes...

Date: 2016-12-27 07:08 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
Ratties are such nice and fuzzy warm little friends. Gerbils, too, and they are so sleek and pretty, in a different way than a plump confident adorable rat...do they have gerbils in the Lacuna? Or just mousies and ratties so far in the fuzzy rodent department?

Hehhehehehheheh...I know that there aren't a *lot* of opportunities for animals to come there way ... but I really want some trader to get one of Shuttlecock's associates a breeding pair of chinchillas. They are the soooooooooofteeeeeesssst fluffy creatures and make fuzz for yarn; also they are very nervous and shy, but I think people would be able to handle that. Of course bunnies are also made of fuzz and attitude.

Re: Yes...

Date: 2016-12-27 03:14 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
yep! Lab bunnies tend to be the sort they use for meat- either Californians or Rexes...and Rexes also tend to come in fun colors and are very SOFT! and also more chill than Californians if socialized correctly. :D

Re: Yes...

Date: 2016-12-28 07:00 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
they use New Zealands too, New Zealands and Californians are mostly used in commercial large scale meat production, because they grow really fast and develop muscle mass before bone mass unlike the truly large breeds like Flemish Giants which develop bone first because they get upwards of 20 pounds in adulthood. Rexes are the winner for homesteading meat rabbits because they can be more easily socialized, are used for fur as well as meat, and can be sold live as pedigree pet and show rabbits or breeding stock

Chins

Date: 2016-12-27 04:04 pm (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
Re: Chinchilla ‘Wool’:

People sometimes use or give away shed fur from fluffy pets for use in fiber crafts, although this can present some usability concerns sue to the presence of allergens or damage to the strands of hair.
https://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=5674367 https://sweatyknitter.com/2013/02/10/the-little-ones-part-2-chinchillas/
However, it’s very much in line with a ‘use everything’ approach to sustainable, closed-cycle, and improvised agriculture in a human-dominated environment. Chinchilla hair works best for yarn in a blend with other fibers.
http://threadstringandtherestofit.blogspot.com/2007/07/judith-mackenzie-mccuin-spinning-class.html
http://www.nwrain.net/~viva/html/viva_chinchilla.html
https://books.google.com/books?id=zkhpXDsi_BwC&pg=PA395&lpg=PA395&dq=chinchilla+spinning+fiber&source=bl&ots=b1mSnWmywF&sig=tmw3_ywFkLn2hpdjaJjRQJCozso&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjex77fx5TRAhUH34MKHbMYA-kQ6AEIWDAN#v=onepage&q=chinchilla%20spinning%20fiber&f=false
Chinchilla pelts are also usable, although controversial in L-America.
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/fashion/features/can-wearing-fur-be-guilt-free-934031.html
Soft, silky shed chinchilla hair might be useful for felting.
http://www.chins-n-hedgies.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-18670.html
Felting is an ancient technique that makes the most of mixed animal fibers, although IIRC it actually works better with a mix including short, frizzy fibers.
https://books.google.com/books?id=HnSlynSfeEIC&pg=PA215&lpg=PA215&dq=prehistoric+felting&source=bl&ots=GB0kSO_TUE&sig=3sDpEy_Xt2WwjwFQwNmmVqUqmy0&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiUxqrK3ZTRAhUm7oMKHc38DM8Q6AEILTAG#v=onepage&q=prehistoric%20felting&f=false
https://books.google.com/books?id=gO9nBwAAQBAJ&pg=PA251&lpg=PA251&dq=prehistoric+felting&source=bl&ots=bFdJ4QucC6&sig=UcokkyfRhDzN9DEIjCQ5FzFq4iU&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiUxqrK3ZTRAhUm7oMKHc38DM8Q6AEIMjAI#v=onepage&q=prehistoric%20felting&f=false
Someone who actually does fiber crafts such as knitting, crochet, spinning, and/or felting might have more insight.

My own experience is of volunteering as a lab care helper with a pair of chinchillas as a high school students; this cemented my impression of the critters as timid and unbelievably fluffy. (Imagine a porcupine somehow covered with silk fringe and poofy clouds instead of spikes.) So the bottom line for me is that, since I desperately want to pet the animal, I’d probably be happy to wear soft things made from the fur.

Provided that didn’t involve hurting the critter. (My objection to wearing a pet is a squick, not a reasoned moral objection. I think that fur can be ethical, and I have a broad band for opinions I won’t mind on the topic, but personally I’d rather not have pets and sources of materials from killed animals be the same species. Though my inner cat argues with this view when cute fuzzy things are also small and pounceable…)

Re: Chins

Date: 2016-12-28 07:07 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Chins are flighty bitey nervous little buggers though and diurnal...the ones we had in our life sciences class were also escape artists, and CHINS ARE FAST, they hop and jump hight and fast enough to almost seem to FLY, and are able to squeeze into impossibly small cramped places. (great for chasing and pouncing, but not so great for keeping contained in a limited environment)

Re: Chins

Date: 2016-12-29 03:59 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
Point well made! Thank you, I am glad to hear from someone with more experience of the species.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-12-28 04:35 am (UTC)
thnidu: our cat (Ista)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
When I lie down on my back these evenings, pretty soon I have someone lying in the angle between my arm and my torso, purring (snoring?), often with a paw on my chest, shoulder, or beard. So-o-o restful.

Re: Yes...

Date: 2016-12-28 05:25 am (UTC)
thnidu: our cat (Ista)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
And that's what I have -- she has -- right now.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-12-27 11:49 am (UTC)
ext_74: Baron Samadai in cat form (Default)
From: [identity profile] siliconshaman.livejournal.com
A growing population of pet rats&mice is going to lead to some escaping and going feral... better they think about acquiring some cats as well. For pest control, among other things. The old Mir space station very nearly had a zero-gee cat for the same reason. Those old experiments on how cats fare in micro-gravity weren't just out of curiosity's sake. But it turned out to be a controllable problem by decompressing the station, not an option for one of the big bases in the Lacuna I'd imagine. [Yes, you could decompress it section by section, but the mice & rats would just move!]

Thoughts

Date: 2016-12-28 08:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
>> A growing population of pet rats&mice is going to lead to some escaping and going feral... <<

That is possible, although some places may choose not to introduce them for that reason -- or alternatively, only have one sex.

>>better they think about acquiring some cats as well. For pest control, among other things. The old Mir space station very nearly had a zero-gee cat for the same reason. Those old experiments on how cats fare in micro-gravity weren't just out of curiosity's sake. But it turned out to be a controllable problem by decompressing the station, not an option for one of the big bases in the Lacuna I'd imagine. [Yes, you could decompress it section by section, but the mice & rats would just move!]<<

That really is how spacers get rid of pests. It works.

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2016-12-28 11:54 am (UTC)
ext_74: Baron Samadai in cat form (Default)
From: [identity profile] siliconshaman.livejournal.com
Which? Cats or decompression? I'd go with the cats for vermin control on large station, aside from anything else decompression would waste tons of air. That, and it would do exactly jack all to the cockroaches. [They found that out on Mir. They go into hibernation and can stay that way for days!]

(no subject)

Date: 2017-12-01 04:34 pm (UTC)
bairnsidhe: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bairnsidhe
Fluffers! Good. Pets are good. although I see a market for other, non-lab, animals. Cats maybe, or ferrets, although ferrets smell pretty strongly. I don't mind the smell, but many people do. OR, discovering a science station that kept dogs or monkeys for science purposes and then the advent accessibility animals.

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