Stacy’s Funny Farm has been providing sanctuary for unwanted pets for over 40 years. Because of limited space, the Funny Farm sometimes fosters pets until suitable homes become available. The Funny Farm specializes in small birds, rodents, chickens, and ducks but has also been known to take in fish, feral cats, and rabbits. Sometimes, the animals just show up, like the peacock who landed in the yard and stayed. The Funny Farm started with rodents: as a toddler, Stacy learned to walk by dragging around a hamster cage for balance. She has had pet hamsters, rats, mice, gerbils, guinea pigs, chinchillas, a flying squirrel, and a vole. Her dream of having a pet capybara is an adventure that began in 2008, when she first contacted domestic breeders regarding availability, and simultaneously enlisted the aid of her veterinarian, who agreed to treat her pet capybara, in the unlikely event that one would actually be forthcoming. Well, here he is in all his glory!
In addition to Prince Dobalob, there are a few indoor pets at the Funny Farm. Dobbye reluctantly shares his kitchen space with several noisy birds.
Stacy inherited Jorge, a rescue (lower, gray) and Cody (24 years old when he died, not shown) from a petsitter who died of cancer. After Cody died, Jorge was inconsolable. Vincent (above, white) was an older bird listed for sale on Craig’s List. He was purchased to become a companion for Jorge.
Spike was found recovering from an illness in the back room at Petco. Their policy doesn’t allow birds to be put back on display, even if they are fully recovered. Ask about the back room at your Petco, there are often some very nice pets available for adoption at reduced cost.
Krump-it’s nest and family were destroyed by crows and local wildlife rehabbers wouldn’t take in an infant English Sparrow, so he was raised here at the Funny Farm. He never had the use of his legs so while he can fly, he can’t land and so can’t be released to the wild. Over 4 years old now, he is feisty but lonely, and Spike the Budgie was brought home specifically to stimulate Krump-it and give him a neighbor to talk to.
Pirate is a white ring-necked dove whose mother hatched him as a surprise in a seed dish here at the Funny Farm. The slick-bottomed dish and ball-bearing-like seeds didn’t allow his legs to develop properly and a poorly timed vacation meant only one of his spraddled legs could receive healing therapy. His left leg is weak, but his right leg sticks out at a crazy angle, like a peg-leg. Corrective surgery would cost over $2000 and would not guarantee a better quality of life for Pirate, nor is there any guarantee he would even survive the risky surgery. So, Pirate, a long-lived bird, has decided to move into the house away from his raucous flock, to be spoiled and coddled. He loves to watch television at night or help Stacy write blogs like this one.
The Dude Ranch houses 5 male guinea pigs. Yes, males can and do get along just fine. They just need lots of time to get acquainted!
Brothers Ankhsheshonq (Ankhy) and Carl Sagan (Carl) are foster guinea pigs living at the Funny Farm.
Fred and Steve’s former owner and her entire family discovered they are allergic to guinea pigs. Stacy overheard a relative talking about the situation and stepped forward to help. That’s how Fred came to live at the Funny Farm with his cage-mate, Stevie Ray. Stevie Ray has very long hair that requires grooming, so he was especially difficult for an allergy-prone family.
Ziggy has been here the longest. Ziggy came from a rescue organization called Forgotten Kingdom. They rescue the “exotic” animals that turn up at the Everett Animal Shelter, that is only equipped to deal with dogs and cats. (I also have a red-eared slider from Forgotten Kingdom, presumably unwanted due to a benign calcareous growth on his neck.) Ziggy was purchased as a companion to Twinkie, who died several years ago. A lonely bachelor, he was delighted to meet Fred and Stevie Ray. Ziggy currently shares acreage with Fred, Stevie Ray, Ankhy, and Carl. Guinea pigs are generally happiest living with companions.
How about capybaras? They are herd animals, so shouldn’t they have capybara friends? Of course, that would be ideal, however even one capybara is a time-consuming pet. More than one and you are a full-time wrangler. Dobbye has a flock of hens, geese, and ducks to keep him company. He loves to share his food with them, and often asks to visit them in their spacious aviary, where he creates mayhem as only a capybara can!
Most of the poultry is hand-me-down pets. The Funny Farm provides sanctuary for older hens and elderly ducks. Right now the Funny Farm houses only drakes, to keep springtime antics to a minimum. That quacking you hear is the wild mallards who keep Dobbye company when his flock is penned up. They retreat to the rooftop when Flock Manager Norman the Goose and his sidekick Cubicle invade Dobbye’s yard in the afternoon.
The Funny Farm takes in rabbits, too. Wiley came to us several years ago. He was running wild in a nice downtown neighborhood where several people finally realized, as winter approached, that he had no home. A friendly bunny, and probably an escaped indoor pet, his owner could not be located, and he found his way to the Funny Farm. He immediately fell in love with an elderly bunny named Nosebud. When she died, Wiley was devastated. Sister bunnies Bonnie and Helen soon joined Wiley. They were well cared for, but were living together in a tiny hutch in a very dark shed.
Sadly, Bonnie and Helen fought for Wiley’s affection, and poor Helen had to move inside, where she became Queen of the Kitchen, and chief tormentor of oversized rodents. She is featured in one blog that commemorates her short life, and she appears in several other blogs as well.
Stacy’s Funny Farm specializes in prey animals: birds and rodents. That’s why there are no predators like cats and dogs. But wait, who is Kitty Hawk, then? The Funny Farm is surrounded by ponds and streams, as well as ivy. Where there is water and ivy, you will have rats. Add a feeder of poultry food and you will have LOTS of rats. Unless you have barn kitties! Kitty Hawk came from The Alley Cat Project in Seattle. Because he tested positive for FIV, he must remain confined to the Funny Farm Aviary. And because he was so incredibly lonely, a second barn kitty came to join him from the Alley Cat Project.
Hawk and Grover get along just fine with the ducks and hens, though they are wary of the geese. The squirrels and wild birds have learned to avoid them. And Dobbye chases them relentlessly, just so they don’t start taking their predator role too seriously.
Stacy’s Funny Farm accepts new recruits by word of mouth, and that seems to fill the house. Sometimes the Funny Farm will adopt from a rescue. Darth, an adorable but perfectly vicious little gerbil, is a good example. This miniature biting machine would never become a suitable pet. So, he came to live out his short life at the Funny Farm, land of good food, clean water, and an endless supply of empty cracker boxes and toilet paper tubes!
If you have any questions about any of the Funny Farm pets, or want to hear more stories about pets I have mentioned here, please feel free to make a suggestion!