My spotted stripy bum (the free translation of its scientific name, Taeniopygia guttata) is cute, but definitely not cuddly. You can't tame zebra finches, you can't teach them to talk, they won't greet you with a smile, they won't fly up to you and give you a kiss on the ear. In fact, the nearest they get to recognising your very existence is to assail your eardrums with a shrill piping call accompanied by a quick poop on the furniture.
Why, then, I hear you ask, do you have the damn thing in your house? It's because it's real owner can't stand it. She was in her local pet shop when the owner said they were going to put the bird down because it had something wrong with its middle toe. So, D, being a soft-hearted lass, "rescued" it, and I eventually agreed to look after it for a while out of the kindess of my heart.
My son asked me recently if I intended to get another dog. The answer is no, but I am beginning to wonder if I could get a collar round stripy bum's neck and take her for walks on a short lead. The exercise would do me good, but I have to say, I don't like the idea of having to carry a poop scoop round the fields of Haddenham. So maybe not.