Writer Bob Tarte and his wife Linda live in Michigan in an old farmhouse with an unused barn. They have opened their home up to many animals over the last two decades, starting innocently enough with a bunny named Binky. Cute, furry, and small; what could possibly go wrong? Chewed electrical cords, damaged furniture, not to mention sullen and surly moods from the little rabbit were the result. Never able to stay mad long, Bob and Linda accepted their pet's bad habits and destructive tendencies with humor, resignation, and the irrational practice of getting even more animals to act as companions for the little miscreants.
Linda's good heart and network of friends and acquaintances, made sure that they expanded their menagerie to include several rabbits, parrots, parakeets, a dove, cats, geese, numerous ducks, and turkeys. Their property eventually brimmed with outdoor pens and barn accommodations for the later three kinds of birds. Not all the animals were taken in at the same time as age, disease, escape, and predatory raccoons took their toll on the makeshift zoo. Often the Tartes would bury their pet and quickly go out to shop for a replacement.
Bob's self-deprecating story of the adoption or purchase of the animals as well as their subsequent care against the unforgiving weather of Michigan is a hoot. All the creatures exhibit their own unique and individual quirks and habits, making for an incredibly difficult and arduous routine for the Tartes. Equally unnerving but funny are the offbeat, oddball individuals who populate the small surrounding towns from whom they acquire the animals. As if the chaotic lifestyle would be enough to make anyone unhinged, Bob seeks therapy for his depression that flares whenever an animal is lost or dies. His "anti-social" psychiatrist Dr. Glaser puts him on a Zoloft prescription that helps Bob cope with the self-induced stress and rigors.
This report prepared by David Fletcher