Channel 5 recently showed a 4 part series about unusual choices for pets, although that’s not really how the programme turned out.It didn’t seem to have one particular theme running through it other than being about British people and their pets. It was a bit of a mish mash of people who kept unusal pets, people who run pet shops, farms or homes for exotic pets, entertainers who use animals as part of their act, pets which weren’t unusual but had an interesting story behind them, and often it seemed to be more about how eccentric the pet owners were rather than how strange the pets were. Apparently some footage is recycled from other shows which may explain the slightly random nature of it.
Some of the pets we met included Joe the farm camel sticking his head from the back garden into an open kitchen window for something to nibble. Sherrie the Labrador who likes tea and prefers surfing to walkies. Mica a 17 ½ stone mirco pig who was given beauty treatments such as painted pink trotters, a pink ribbon in her hair, and had a pink princess sty with a zebra-print bed and glitterball. Floella the glamorous hen who goes to the hairdressers to get her wings clipped. She, however, doesn’t lay eggs. Beaky the emu did lay eggs for Ian Newbie, who runs for a home exotic pets whose owners can’t look after them anymore. As he has a large family having a bird which lays large eggs has its advantages at breakfast time. Emu eggs, compared to chicken’s eggs have a massive yolk and apparently are creamier.
It was interesting to see owners who had gone to lengths to provide a good home for their pets. Stephanie Noble was unhappy with the conditions of the stable her pony was kept in, so she converted her own living room into a stable. Jack Heathcoat who has a water tank in his basement filled with tropical fish. It is such a big tank he has to clean it by putting on diving gear and washing it from the inside. But he considers it well worth it, and enjoys relaxing by watching his aquarium while drinking a glass of wine. Chris Weller appeared in all but one episode had a house full of reptiles. His favourite was Hector the monitor lizard who he spoilt by letting him a luxurious room complete with a sunbed and TV set and fed him prawns while Hector had a hot bath. There were quite a lot of reptiles featured, which was refreshing as Chris Weller pointed out they get a very bad press, so this might do something to rectify that. Apparently reptiles are becoming an increasingly popular choice for a pet.
Sometimes the loved ones of the people who kept exotic pets seemed frustrated by it. We also saw homes for animals that have been rescued noting that certain animals are simply too dangerous to be kept as pets. It was also shown just how much care needs to be taken when working with such animals, especially those that are venomous.
As a documentary, it was a bit random as to what point it was trying to make. But I still liked watching it. What came across very, very clearly though was that the pet owners loved their animals and that those working with animals, even though it could be a dangerous job, got a lot out of the work they were doing. So this programme is probably best viewed as an example of Britain being a nation of animal lovers.