People often ask me why I keep a whale in my bathtub in my tiny Jerusalem apartment. This to me is a bit like asking why some people keep dogs or cats in their homes as companions, although obviously they generally take up less room than a whale which is a generously proportioned creature. However, I patiently explain to those who ask, that whereas many people keep dogs or cats as pets, I prefer a whale.
Oh, for many reasons.
First of all, I am proud to be probably the only human being to have a whale as a pet, although I resent the word pet since my Wally is more of a companion and confidant and a great comfort in my bouts of depression. He is always so grateful for his daily wash and fish meals and he always spouts his delight and smack his mighty jaws although always making sure that I am well out of reach. Then, and this I consider a real plus, I don’t have the constant worry of taking him out for a walk two or three times a day to unburden himself On the whole, I think that Wally has a good life although admittedly the bath and bathroom is a little space- confining, especially when I have to remove him from the bath so that I can take a shower or a bath. But he is very patient, and he knows that I too need to keep my body clean and that for the moment I don’t have the luxury of an extra bath or bathroom or even a pool.
I know that animal lovers, of whom there are still many around, will protest that my keeping a whale as a pet-companion is highly objectionable and a violation of animal-fish rights, and that taking Wally out of his natural maritime milieu is a crime against the animal world in general and the whale species in particular. Don’t you see, they remonstrate, what you are doing is totally unnatural and positively inhuman, as if keeping dogs or cats captive on a lead is in any way preferable. Wally at least has the freedom of the bath.
It’s true of course that providing Wally with his fish dinners doesn’t come cheap, but on the other nothing in the world compare with having a live whale as a life companion and one of these days I will tell you the incredible story of how our relationship came about and how Wally abandoned his natural ocean-going life in exchange for a loving Anglo-Israeli human companionship and the warmth of my less-than-spacious bath-tub.