Interview with the Character
Veterinarian Dr. Petronella Knight
As a veterinarian, what would you say is the best kind of pet to have? A cat or a dog?
Oh, my goodness, how could I choose? I have two pets myself. A dog named Sherlock and a cat named Pawdry Hepburn. They’re both incredibly sweet and I have to say, pretty cute! Sherlock is a big love, and Pawdry sleeps with me most nights, unless she goes home with our receptionist, Katie. It’s really totally up to Pawdry.
What would you say is the biggest difference between dogs and cats as pets?
The standard answer is to say that cats are more stand-offish, but Pawdry is very affectionate and often follows me from room to room. Cats also like to sleep a bit more—like up to sixteen hours a day. But then again, Sherlock loves a good snooze in front of the fire too. I think cats are more independent, but it definitely depends on the cat. It would be difficult for me to choose between them, because I love them both.
Is it true you have a duck as a pet?
Technically, George is not a pet—he’s a working duck. And he belongs to my best friend Maisie, but does like to spend some time at Lily’s house.
Would you recommend them as pets?
This is harder to answer. First of all, not every community allows people to keep ducks as pets. If yours does, and you should totally check the laws. If yours allows it, then they are little, fluffy bundles of personality, though a great deal of work. This is one reason Garrett objects to Lily duck-sitting so much. George, our little guard duck, has tons of personality, and we call him a guard duck because he always lets us know when someone is on the property. Of course, this can be a passing car or even a fly-by by a bird, but George is ever-diligent and on the job.
So, what are some reasons why you might consider having your own guard duck? Ducks are feathered balls of personality! Each one is different, and it is really fun getting to know them as individuals. But there are definitely things to keep in mind. I like making lists, so here is a short one of things to keep in mind before you think about having your own:
- Females lay eggs, and are more regular about it than chickens.
- They are relatively long-lived pets—it’s possible for them to live 10-15 years when well cared for.
- They produce LOTS of manure. So, they are great pets if you have a garden. They are also less damaging on your yard and landscaping than chickens are. And, they consume lots of insects in the process! But again—the manure!
- Ducks are pretty high maintenance compared to chickens. They need lots of fresh water, which they soil frequently—so that will need to be cleaned quite regularly.
- Did I mention the clean-up? There is a lot of cleanup to be done with ducks.
- Since pet ducks usually are unable to fly, they are a big target when it comes to local wildlife predators. That means that you will need to provide them with hawk covers, which should be placed over their pens. When outside, your pet ducks will also need to be supervised and protected from potential attacks from predators.
So, I think everyone should have a pet animal of some kind. Or more than one! They provide us with so much love and laughter, and who doesn’t need that in their life? Please consider adopting a rescue pet. There are so many who need a good home.
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