Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Favorite Pets in Our Family Were Blondie and Dagwood!

(Ed. note~This story dates from the 1950s, with Dad's first wife Frances. I believe he was in California at the time.)

We made pets of all the farm animals and also of many of the so-called wild ones of our state, but when someone gave us us a pair of baby badgers, well. . . that was a challenge. Everyone said that a badger just couldn't be tamed.

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Calling my new infants "Blondie" and "Dagwood", I took them into the house and put them down. There is no prettier animal than a wee, soft-coated badger. Two light stripes run from their nose over their head to their neck. They are most beautiful when startled, or angry. Then they seem to just "blow up" and spread out about twice their width and every hair is standing on end. The hissing sound they make at this time, seems to be a whistle.

The little fellows took off when I put them down on the kitchen floor and visited every room, looking things over. At last they decided it was nap time so, tucking their heads under their furry coats, they fell asleep in the clothes closet, a pair of old felt slippers for their bed.

We fixed a house for them out in the shade, and knowing they great diggers, placed rabbit wire under the house and pen. They would sleep most of the day, and we let them out in the evenings to play.

We could pick them up any time when they were small, but after they reached two months old, it seemed I was the only one they trusted. I could call to them and they would come as fast as their short little legs would go. Then they would come to a very quick strop, blow themselves up, and hiss. I would pick them up and stroke their soft fur, all the while talking to them, which they seemed to enjoy.

None of the others in the family could do this. If they tried, those sharp little teeth quickly put a stop to friendship between man and beast. Never once did Blondie or Dagwood bite me.

When they were about three months old, I started to shoot gophers for them. These they would shake to pieces before eating. They had been eating table scraps and cooked rolled oats, but were very particular as to just what kind of food was fir for their royal highnesses.

Take beans, for instance. These would be sniffed at, rolled about, and then a hold would be dug and the beans buried and patted down beneath a layer of dirt.

Blondie was as sweet as she could be and gave up a lot for Dagwood. He was the aggressive type, and tried to be the big shot. He was sometimes mean to her and would slap her around now and then. But once in a while, she had enough of his nonsense. Then the fur would fly. Rolling over and over, they would squeal at each other until one was winner. Then the loser would go off into a dark corner, cover up its head and sulk for a while, looking like a small brown puff-ball.

We had the pair for over a year, then having to move to the city, we knew our pets we thought so much of would have to go back to the prairies. We would not give them to anyone for fear they would be mistreated. It was spring, so we took them to the far north pasture, where the gophers were plentiful, and turned them loose.

Dagwood took off at his highest speed and started digging, but Blondie just stood by my feet. I almost cried at that, but soon she saw her "better half" almost out of sight in a hole, and curiosity got the better of her. Off she went, and when we last saw them, the dirt was flying from the new "diggin's". I hope they were happy and perhaps by now there are several little "fuzz-balls" in that little home on the prairie.


  1. Wow what a wonderful story I can only imagine what it would be like to have a badger in the house. I would have cried for sure if I had to let them go I am such a softie for my animal friends. I probably would have put a tent up in the field and protested against the move to the city maybe even chained myself to a tree LOL!! as always I enjoyed the post and visiting over here today Thank you for sharing this ~Blessings Heather

  2. Dear Marqueta,

    What a sweet story. I read this tonight as I was eating popcorn. I just got back from visiting Thomas in the hospital. This story was a much needed mental break!