Choosing to Live with Companion Animals
Companion Parrots look for trouble for entertainment.
She called out with great fury warning all who could hear her. Eyes pinning, Racoon Warning Alarm System on full blast peeling paint off the walls. Butters let her beak direct dad to the invading raccoon and the worst of it. Being dramatic is entertaining.
I shall name him Vincenzo, after an infamous but not famous jewel thief. Vincenzo, criminal raccoon, stole one egg while Marie, our nest sitting Muscovy duck, hollered while her flock assembled for defensive means. Our deck was full of ducks ready for battle. It was too late. Vincenzo knew where the gems were now. That night he returned and ransacked the rest of the nest. Marie was left with dry empty eggshells the following morning, and a forced decision to nest elsewhere.
Companion dogs look for trouble for business.
I knew we were going to have to deal with this guy sooner or later. Angus and I met him a week ago in the dark, behind the house while Angus took his last sabbatical for the day. Vincenzo saw Angus first, but not first enough. I was dragged twenty feet while Angus introduced himself by chasing Vincenzo up the tallest punk tree. I'm sure the neighbors enjoyed the billowing Catahoula Hound barks at 10:30 at night. I know I thoroughly enjoyed skiing behind a 70-pound bolting dog. That was invigorating. I wasn't partial to the face full of Spanish moss and probable baby spiders in my hair at the end of the run. But beggars can't be choosers.
Cleaning after 14 Companion Parrots is ...
You know the first 15 minutes of cleaning cages where you are moving parrots to temporary quarters and dismantling toys, cages, and tree stands? In those first 15 minutes, where you only see the work ahead, and no end yet, the mind wanders. What am I doing here? Is this my life? Am I crazy? I could be (insert awesome liberating hobby here). This will never end. This will not stay clean after we're done. WOW! There's a lot of space in this house when there aren't bird cages. I could have a beautiful bookshelf there. I can see out my windows that have become macaw viewing windows. Wow. Those are great views.
Bird poop looks like chalk drawings around dead furniture bodies.
As those thoughts continue, the driveway becomes filled with two extra-large macaw cages and parrot paraphernalia. We have a four-car driveway area being taken up quickly. This is industrial cleaning. But that's a husband's burden. Mine is in the house. Sweeping, vacuuming, mopping, wall washing, dusting, and mopping more. I stand there at minute 14 gut checking this whole obsession. And one lone voice from a bedroom cage brought downstairs for a temporary cage calls out, "Hi!"
It's the call she uses when she's nervous. It has a question mark behind it. I take Butters, our blue and gold macaw, out and love on her, sniff her feathers, preen her, receive her kisses and rub her belly. Felix, an exceptional African Grey, shouts, "It's all right!", and chuckles. I give Butters a cashew and place her back into her temporary cage next to Snickers' temporary cage. I give Snickers a cashew. "HUH?" He's always shocked when I give out cashews. Male scarlet macaws are cynical.
This isn't nonsense work. This is flocking. Sometimes it's hard, sometimes it's easy. Choosing to live a companion animal lifestyle is no different than choosing to raise a family. Love is love. With or without a thieving egg eating raccoon named Vincenzo.