French animal painter Rosa Bonheur (1822-1899) kept several animals in her studio, including an otter, a parrot, and various rodents. Sometimes she invited in a couple of old lions, goats, or horses.
The otter had “the bad habit of leaving the water and getting in between the sheets of Mme. Micas’s bed, so that all the bedclothes and even the mattress would sometimes be wet through.”
Rosa Bonheur grew up in a family that was at home with animals. Childhood friend Hippolyte Peyrol remembered playing hide and seek with a goat that the Bonheur family kept upstairs.
There was a tame squirrel living in the hollow leg of a plaster cast of a woman. The squirrel once gnawed through a picture hanging rope, which made the picture crash to the floor.
Rosa brought home some quail and let them loose in the studio after putting a screen over the windows. To make them feel at home she set up a little wild garden in the corner of a room.
from Reminiscences of Rosa Bonheur, edited by Theodore Stanton, 1910. It’s a book you can download and read from Google Books
Wikipedia on Rosa Bonheur
Previously on GJ: Bonheur Ram Studies
Friends of Rosa Bonheur (French website)