I have two cats, four birds, fifteen fish, and one lizard. The cats are called Lucy and Blackie, both male, with quite different personalities (one a rabid hunter, the other a homebody). The birds are parakeets–white, blue, turquoise, and yellow. I have trained the yellow one (she has no name) to perch on my fingers and let me stroke her; the others won’t let me near them. The fish are in two ponds and approach when I bring them food. I have netted the ponds so that the raccoons can’t get to them. The lizard is an Uromastyx ocellata (a North African spiny-tailed lizard): her name is Ramon. She lives in a tank alone and likes to bask on a stone (I actually wrote a song about her). Occasionally I take her out for short excursions—last night, for instance, I placed her on Lucy’s back, to their mutual consternation (but also fascination). So I have a little zoo representing different phyla. It’s nice. I wonder how many pet owners enjoy such variety (I am an “inclusive” pet owner). I do actually believe in interspecies friends, or at least nodding acquaintances.