Friend and Fowl? It’s National Pet Day!

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Apr 11, 2018

Posted by: Dawn Johnson | Comments

Books, Fandom, Fans, Films, Fun, Movies, News

“Dogs are a man’s best friend.” Or so the aphorism goes. But devoted pet lovers well know their most beloved of companions come in all shapes and sizes–and from a variety of species. Dogs, cats, fish, bunnies, snakes, hissing cockroaches, pigs, hamsters, ferrets–whether furry, fluffy, slimy or scaly, there is a pet to be found for everyone, wizards included!

So on National Pet Day, we pay tribute to some of our favorite wizarding world companions from the Harry Potter series, each creature special in its own way.

1. Hedwig

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Perhaps the most well-known and–*sob*–fondly missed pets of the series is Hedwig, Harry’s Snowy owl. A gift from Hagrid on Harry’s official introduction to the wizarding world and all the delights of Diagon Alley, Hedwig was Harry’s first real birthday present. He was no doubt cherished as much for his companionship as he was for the sentiment, a reminder to Harry of the giver’s kindness and generosity, of which he had experienced so little. Having Hedwig at his side was a reminder of the constancy and care he would now enjoy, and so Harry passed that on to his feathered friend. Hedwig stuck by Harry faithfully–until the end.

2. Crookhanks

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Crookshanks was the apple of Hermione’s eye, though he might have been the bane of Ron’s. Fat and furry-faced, he was good for hugs and a bit of mischief. Hermione didn’t typically go in for that sort of thing, but she must have enjoyed Crookshanks’ playfulness and persistence–at least at Ron’s expense! The ongoing tension between the ginger-haired feline and the elusive rat Scabbers seemed to echo the relationship between the two long-time friends, and we enjoyed every line of it.

But Crookshanks’ interest in Scabbers went beyond instinct. With an appearance reminiscent of the noble lion and uncanny intelligence and intuition, his Kneazle heritage made him suspicious of the rodent, while on the other paw, friends with Snuffles. He clearly had a gift for appraising people and situations, and Hermione was wise to follow his lead. Though he might not have been wanted initially, he found his forever home in Hermione and, in the process, became a humorous and heart-warming addition to the story!

3. Errol

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Errol’s uneven performance solicited plenty of eye rolls and good-humored laughs from the Weasley clan, but, his seeming incompetence aside, he served his family faithfully. In spite of landings gone awry and a few crashes here and there, he always managed to make his deliveries, and isn’t that what matters? In the end, we’re certain he occupied a special place in the Weasley household and that they treated him as such. It just goes to show that a pet’s contributions are not what give him value or worth as a family member–it is the simple pleasure of their presence which renders them loved and loveable for their own sake!

4. Arnold

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We do not get many glimpses of Arnold, the Pygmy Puff, in the book series. However, we do know that he was wont to hang around the Gryffindor Common Room with Ginny and ride about on her shoulder. Though diminutive in size, he made up for it by bringing her joy, and so Arnold earns a place on the list. There is much to be said for pets who are content to “be there”–it is a service, indeed.

5. Pigwidgeon

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Pigwidgeon is a miniature Scops owl, gifted to Ron by Sirius Black after the untimely departure of his rat, Scabbers, the transfigured Peter Pettigrew. (We have opted not to include Scabbers on the list of proper pets because he proved not to be one in either form or substance. He stayed with the Weasleys to take advantage of their kindness and refuge, not for mutual benefit. He intended only to hide and protect his own skin.)

And so we are happy Ron ended up with an owl, as he had always wanted. Ron often feigned annoyance over Pig’s–as he came to be called–tendency to be enamored with performing and his inability, due to his small stature, to make many deliveries, but let it not be said that the eager owl didn’t try. Truly, Ron was attached to the tiny owl. While the idiosyncrasies and behaviors of our pets may try us from time to time, we endure them because they are ours, and that is an unique bond which inspires forbearance–and endearment.

6. Fang

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Fang is the over-sized boarhound privileged to reside in Rubeus Hagrid’s hut. And given Hagrid’s known affection for and interest in magical creatures, it would seem to indicate that he and Fang shared a special relationship which earned the dog a spot in his life and home. He accompanied Hagrid, the Keeper of Keys and Grounds, about his tasks at Hogwarts and, though a “bloody coward,” was both fiercely protective of Hagrid and openly welcoming of his guests, greeting them with a flurry of licks, slobbers and barks. A reliable, happy pet like that is as good as they come.

7. Mrs. Norris

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Mrs. Norris is the devoted feline friend of Argus Filch, Hogwarts caretaker. We’ll try to forgive her for the skulking and spying, as she was only doing her master’s bidding and seemed remarkably in tune with his motivations and moods. They had a strong connection, which must be acknowledged, even if it proved unfortunate for the students who tried to cross her! After all, who can forget Filch’s genuine heartache and despair when he thought Mrs. Norris lost to him after she was petrified by a Basilisk attack? We really can’t wish that pain on anyone, even Mrs. Norris and Argus Filch.

8. Buckbeak

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Buckbeak is the hippogriff originally under Hagrid’s care, but after the incident with Draco Malfoy during Care of Magical Creatures class, he was sentenced to execution. However, due to the ingenuity and bravery of our time-traveling heroes, Buckbeak was freed and escaped with the innocent fugitive Sirius Black. He then became Black’s companion as they hid away in caves and awaited instructions from the order.

While Black may not have thought of Buckbeak as a pet, and Buckbeak may not have considered Sirius a master, knowing the nature of hippogriffs, there must certainly have been a great deal of mutual respect between the two in order for them to exist together peaceably. Therefore we include him on the list, because each could undoubtedly not have gotten along without the other–and that’s what having a pet is about.

9. Trevor

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Ah, Trevor. The toad. We’re not sure if Trevor was a clever escape artist or if Neville was lacking in the Quality Control and Supervision Department, but these two were quite the pair. Every first-year was encouraged to bring a pet, and Neville received him as a token of his Uncle Algie’s pride and confidence after the young Neville demonstrated his magical abilities. But even wizards get into a spot of trouble now and then and, in the end, Trevor seemed determined to return to the wild–er, the Black Lake–rather than remain tucked away in the Boys’ Dormitory.

This should not reflect poorly on the suitability of amphibians as pets, however, as some people are taken with the species. Perhaps the two greeted each other now and then when Neville visited the lake or perused the grounds in the course of his Herbology duties and lessons. We wouldn’t be at all surprised if the cheeky toad made a point to do so…

10. Nagini

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Though we’ve begun to wonder if Nagini is more than an ordinary reptile, and Voldemort’s not the first wizard you think of when descriptors such as caring, compassionate and companion come up, the two shared a close relationship nonetheless. And while we wouldn’t say Voldemort loved Nagini, for we doubt he possessed the capacity, he certainly went out of his way to protect and nurture her. He valued her and entrusted to her important tasks. (True, these involved a good deal of killing and maiming, but we’re trying to focus on the deep loyalty between them. That’s something noteworthy in the pet-owner dynamic!)

It might seem like a bit of a downer to end a tribute to pets and their place in the wizarding world with an evil soul-harboring snake, but it must be pointed out that there really is a pet out there for everyone, one that will brighten your days and capture your heart. If you haven’t found one yet, consider beginning your search. And if you have, share a picture of your muggle (or wizarding!) pet in the comments below.





The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.