Written by Phrank Phraser
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Monday, 25 August 2003

Our Cuddly Little Friends

I first had an inkling a couple of years ago when I saw a lady proudly parading a pet ferret on a lead around the local shopping area. And then when I heard a recent interview on the local radio in which a woman talked about her pet sparrow called Ronnie Barker (it’s all right, that’s what I thought as well), my suspicions were all but confirmed.

Things were about to change. We were about to turn our backs on such assorted exotica as snakes and lizards in our quests to own unusual pets, and instead were turning to more traditional furry and feathery specimens of British wildlife for companionship.

Indeed, why shouldn’t we invite our friends of the forests into our homes? Why shouldn’t we welcome our woodland wildlife into our abodes to share a more intimate and meaningful relationship with us?

What would be so wrong with a curled up badger snoozing contentedly on the hearthrug on a cosy autumn night as the family watched Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?

And couldn’t we get used to the family squirrel jumping up on our laps and rolling over for a quick tummy tickle as we settled down with the evening paper? Of course we could.

And indeed we will. Things are changing, and changing fast.

I can just see ‘Beware of the fox’ signs in abundance on suburban garden gates and weasel flaps on council estate front doors becoming commonplace.

What’s more, it could spread – and well beyond these small, fair isles. Trends like this can escalate rapidly, quickly becoming global issues.

Our friends from across The Pond may soon be providing food and shelter for their bison and racoons.

Down under, Koala bears may soon leave their eucalyptus trees for good and move on to share the domestic delights offered lovingly by well meaning Australian families.

Three toed sloths will make wonderful companions for South American children, as will penguins in the southernmost reaches of this vast continent.

It makes you feel so very proud to be British. This great nation that gave the World: football, The Beatles, and infected meat, will have pioneered the greatest coming-togetherness of all time. I feel so incredibly privileged to have witnessed the beginning of this great new beginning.

Of course, I just might have got it all wrong.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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