Celebrating My Birthday

I had a truly wonderful birthday celebration this year and I want to remember every minute! Justin and I continued our regular tradition of taking our birthday’s off together and making a whole day of it. In fact, we start our celebrations the night before by going out for dinner.

This year we went to Woodlot, which is down in our old College Street neighbourhood. It’s a cozy place – dark, warm, welcoming – and has wonderful food. It’s just perfect for celebrating a winter’s birthday. I even tipped my hat to the season by ordering a cocktail called an Ice Dragon.

In the morning we headed down to the Beaches. It’s been our birthday tradition almost since we first moved out to the east end of the city and discovered that with a short bus ride or a long walk we can make it to this wonderful area of the city.

The cold has rarely held us back from our waterfront visit. In fact blustery snowy days have created some of our best memories! This year it was the dazzling sunlight on the lake. Spectacular!

Then we headed to Shannon’s for one of my favourite birthday celebrations ever. We booked a Pet Party with Pawsitively Pets. Though this event is generally for children, they were happy to celebrate with us. They bring a wide range of rescued exotic animals who enjoy being social for an interactive and educational hour of utter joy.

First we met Caesar, the Sengal Parrot you see on Shannon’s hand. He was a charmer, sitting on each of our shoulders! Parrots can live to be 75 years old and so are a very long-term commitment as a pet. They are smart, social and also particular. Just like people, they don’t take to everyone, though clearly we didn’t have that issue with this beauty!

Next we met Pearl, a miniature angora rabbit, who was gentle, sweet and so very soft.

photo by Shannon Ridler

Then we met Rosie the albino hedgehog, who seemed a bit nervous to see us. We were amazed by her and her protective spines. She can curl up into a ball to keep herself safe.

Have you ever heard of a sugar glider? We hadn’t until we met Peppermint. These marsupials are tiny and happy to be carried around in a cozy little pouch. They have a membrane that runs between their wrists and their ankles that allows them to stretch out and glide through the air! Amazing!

Then there was Kevin, the bearded dragon. Do you know that many lizards find they need new homes when they are about 8 years old? Parents often buy them as pets for their 10-year-old sons. Then those boys generally keep their lizard until it’s time to move out or head off to university – when they are about 18.  That’s what happened to Kevin.  We were so glad to meet him. He had such a lovely presence and his stillness created such a sense of calm in the room, giving me a new appreciation of lizards. Thanks, Kevin!

Many people have ferrets like Libby for pets. Apparently they behave a lot like cats – they can even use the litter! Though they will also crawl into any little nook or cranny in your home! They can get into just about anything. They also have a very distinctive smell. In fact, we each got to take a moment to smell the musky, earthy, slightly sweet scent of a ferret. How many people can say they did that for their birthday?!

Then there was Romeo. Honestly, what can I say about Romeo, the 40-pound python?! I almost didn’t put him down as an option for the party but I thought, when are you going to have an opportunity like this? I was sure to ask everyone if they felt comfortable with encountering a snake and I’m so glad we all said yes. Romeo opened my mind to the beauty of snakes. He was all grace and muscle. I honestly feel transformed by being able to hold this magnificent creature.

We ended our visit with the gregarious George, a double yellow headed Amazon parrot. What a beauty!! She was quite a talker throughout our entire visit but held back her big number until right at the end. Just as she was heading out the door she sang out the last line of This Little Piggie, “Wee wee wee wee all the way home.”

What a glorious celebration! I am so thankful for this experience. I will remember and treasure each moment forever.


    • Jamie says:

      Thank you so much! We all really thought about how we could handle the snake encounter. It took some bravery but we are all so glad that we did it!

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