T A O S, N.M., March 1, 2002 -- Humans have always struggled to put their differences aside in the pursuit of a harmonious existence. Meanwhile, in the animal kingdom most dogs, cats, birds and mice don't seem to care about getting along — except for Booger, Kitty, Poindexter and Mousey that is.
The kingdom has some new peacemakers in its ranks — a dog named Booger and a cat named Kittyare teaching people about tolerance in a very peculiar way. Joined by their friends, Point Dexter the parrot and Mousey (you can guess the animal), Booger and Kitty have put aside their differences in exchange for a peaceful coexistence.
Greg Pike, an animal lover with some unconventional ideas brought the animals together, giving them space in his Taos, N.M. trailer.
Now he shares his story about the dog in the hat — with the cat on his back, with a bird on her fur all topped by a mouse — and sometimes — a rat.
"If that ain't cool I don't know what is," said Pike of his peace-loving animals. "Animals are very simple, it's people who are complicated," he said.
A few years ago Pike decided to train animals who can't stand each other — to stand on top of each other. After some training, the animals became comfortable with piling on top of Booger while he struts around. The mouse sits on top of the parrot, the parrot on the cat, and the cat on the dog.
A Multi-Layered Menagerie
Pike, a shelter director and the ringmaster of his own multi-layered menagerie, said he wanted to prove that the most extraordinary beings could live in harmony.
"With dogs it's physical training, with cats they're the boss in the human-cat relationship, so you have to use a bit of psychology," he said.
Kitty learned to stand on Booger in a snowy field. Pike said cats hate standing on snow, so Kitty learned to stand on Booger — instead of the cold wet snow.
Rodents are the easiest to train, said Pike. They feel secure around their own scent so Pike placed the cat's harness in their cages overnight. Using all these tricks, it took Pike a few months to get the animals to get used to standing on top of one another.
The peaceful pack has its problems now and again. Sometimes Kitty gets tired of the parrot, Point Dexter, perched on her back and she shakes the bird off. And Booger will occasionally stretch his head past the cat and the parrot to lick the mouse.
Pike loves taking his unique animal show on the road. He and the animals travel around to different areas and he makes his money by taking donations from people who want their pictures taken with Booger, Kitty, Point Dexter and Mousey.