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If you’ve read my bio and posts you will get the gist of how much this family loves animals. (I think spending £130 vet bill on an £8 hamster kind of sums it up.) Jay’s dream job is to have his own pig farm and I am just a sucker for anything with paws and fur. I am not keen on scales, (either the reptilian or fish kind) and feathers inside the house are not my thing, but I am not someone who will scream and jump on the furniture if the cat brings a mouse inside. (Although I won’t try to make a pet of it either.)

A number of years ago my sister visited with her two children, they were scared of our dog and they would flinch if one of the cats came near them, it drove me crazy. I was determined this would not be the case with our girls.

Willow, our twelve-year-old Border Collie, is very patient with them and quite happy to play and be hugged. Sparky, our stray cat who moved in last December, adores AJ and sleeps on her bed at night. He has the patience of a saint and doesn’t scratch, even when the girls are playing vets and they try to stuff him in a pet carrier already containing a blanket and a fluffy pillow (all for his comfort of course). Although the girls do not handle the hamsters (too small and wriggly) they love to stroke them and feed them tidbits. The two rabbits, Nibbles and Tallulah, join in their games and are happy for the girls to pet them. Murphy and Patch the guinea pigs and newest additions to our family are still shy and skittish, but the girls help with cleaning them out and love to smooth their soft hair when I pick them up.

This week both Jay and I have had the week off work, so for one of our trips we took the girls to a children’s farm. When we paid our entrance fee we also bought some bags of animal feed to take in with us.

The four of us had a great time. There were pygmy goats, sheep, chickens and ducks. Rabbits, donkeys, alpaca’s and a grumpy looking pig called Bertie. All the animals came to the fences as we approached eager for some food and the girls were really good at holding out their hands for the feed to be taken.

The place was clean and all the animals looked loved and well cared for. There was also a play and picnic area which was a big hit too.

I think it is good for children to get up close to all sorts of animals, to touch and feed them. Mind you, when Bart asked if she could have a pet elephant I had to say no.