With most stories, as well as the main characters, you would usually find some minor players. Some of the secondary characters in Eagle Man and Mr Hawk are human, but the story also boasts some rather unusual extras.
It’s just not possible to tell a story about an animal handler without introducing some of the animals he “handles”. So here, for your delight, are some of the main members of Ethan’s crew.
Bear the Zebra
Zebras are not pets. They are not even remotely domesticated. They do not have the temperament for it. They can be vicious, stubborn little b*stards that would bite you soon as look at you. Ethan knows this from experience.
Zebras are herd animals and therefore need to be surrounded by other zebras. This is a little difficult when you are the only zebra in the village. This is not much of a problem most days, since Bear shares his field with two Shetland ponies, and apart from the odd attack from some vicious Indian Running ducks, Bear the Zebra seems very content.
The problems begin when Ethan wants to take Bear out and about. The quirky little zebra is about to have a starring role in a TV series, but getting a stubborn zebra to do anything other than bite and kick is not easy. Ethan has to go to some extraordinary lengths in order to get Bear just to follow him from the field.
Rupert the Golden Eagle
Rupert is a work in progress. The majority of Ethan’s “crew” are rescue cases of some sort. His skill in nursing them back to full health, both physical and mental, is phenomenal, but there are some that are more damaged than others. Rupert is one of them.
Rupert’s former owner is still in the process of being prosecuted for their mistreatment of the birds of prey in their care. Most were re-homed easily. Rupert was in an extreme state of malnutrition and highly aggressive, but because he is a Golden Eagle and a rare, protected British species, he is an extra special case. Ethan took him on in the hope that someday, with a lot of work and patience, he might be used in some sort of breeding programme.
Right now, Ethan spends some time every day rehabilitating Rupert. The lengths he is willing to go to in order to do that are extreme to say the least.
Yogi and BooBoo the Raccoons
Raccoons are sociable creatures. They live in family groups in the wild, so need to do the same if they are living in a domestic home.
Inquisitive, curious and very intelligent, they are not easy creatures to keep as pets and not for the faint-hearted. They may look adorable with those bandit masks, but the general advice is to leave them in the wild. They can be destructive and their dextrous little fingers get into everything.
Raccoons are omnivores, so will eat anything. They love to raid rubbish bins, cupboards, bathroom cabinets, in fact, whatever they can get their hands on or into. Ethan has child locks on all of his cupboards, locks on his bin lids and keeps his house very tidy and secure from prying bandit-eyes and thieving paws.
In the wild, raccoons seek out water to relieve themselves because it hides their scent. This sometimes transfers to domesticated life in the form of using the toilet like humans without actually having to be trained to do so. Flushing is another issue, I mean has anyone ever managed to get their kids to flush the toilet? Raccoons are more like unruly children than pets.
Yogi and BooBoo have free reign of Ethan’s house, at least the rooms that Ethan is happy for them to explore. They are also allowed to roam freely about the surrounding countryside. They have formed a family bond with Ethan’s two Siamese cats, Boog and Sooty. The four of them are often seen working together to create mischief and mayhem.
Alex first encounters Yogi, in Ethan’s kitchen when the raccoon tried to get him to open the snack cupboard, however, there are hints that the raccoons have already visited Alex at home, or at least they’ve visited his rubbish bin.
Corduroy “Cordy” the Border Collie and Paddington “Paddy” The German Shepherd.
Cordy and Paddy are Ethan’s pride and joy. He has owned them from puppies and delights in their intelligence, aptitude and agility. They are two of the best trained dogs you might ever hope to meet and absolutely adore their owner, and each other.
To outside observers, it seems that Cordy and Paddy will do anything Ethan asks them to do and it makes training dogs look easy. The truth is that Ethan has spent as much time and energy training his two dogs as he spends with all of his other wards. Sometimes when something looks easy, it’s actually taken a lot of sweat and tears to get to that stage. That’s exactly how it is with Cordy and Paddy.
Ethan spends a part of each day training one or both of his dogs and Alex encounters him during one of those training sessions with Paddy. Unfortunately, Alex is not impressed with Ethan’s reasons for training Paddy. He thinks it’s exploitation and Ethan is rather put out over that.
Sooty and Boog, The Siamese Cats
Sooty and Boog are pedigree Siamese cats. They are sisters. Ethan got them as kittens, and paid a great deal of money for them. At first glance they are elegant, delicate and graceful, and Ethan adores them, as they do him, but he is under no illusion as to their devious, manipulative natures, and their unlikely bond with his two mischievous raccoons makes his life very interesting indeed.
Beorn the Cockatoo
Beorn is the final member of Ethan’s crew that I am introducing you to. She lives in the house along with the dogs, the cats and the raccoons. It’s an interesting, lively menagerie but Beorn is the undisputed matriarch. She rules the roost and nothing happens in that house without her noticing. Ethan knows he is ultimately in charge, since he is the source of food, but Beorn asserts her authority as queen in every way a sulphur-crested cockatoo can, from her obnoxious squawking that assaults the ears, to her uncanny vocal skills.
Some cockatoos can learn up to fifty words and are very good mimics. They aren’t perhaps as good as parrots or miner birds, but Beorn could hold her own among her peers. She certainly lets everyone know who’s in charge and might even treat them to some of her more choice language skills.
I hope you have enjoyed meeting some of Ethan’s amazing crew. All of the pictures today are courtesy of Pixabay. Pop over and check out their stock photos. They love coffee, so why not buy the photographers a cup in appreciation of their wonderful work.
If you want to read more about Ethan’s crew, and Ethan and Alex, the links for Eagle Man and Mr Hawk are below. The download is available for free from Beaten Track Publishing, Smashwords and All Romance ebooks. It’s also available from Amazon UK and Amazon.com but is currently at 99p (although that is still a bargain).
Come back tomorrow for an excerpt from the story.
To see what other awesome stuff is available from Beaten Track Publishing click here