Two young blue and macaws playing on a tree stump. Original photo by Anna Tarazevich, from

The Lifestyle of Life with Companion Pets

The Lifestyle of Life with Companion Pets

Personal space for personal things. Depending on who you have chosen as a companion, space is infiltrated by sounds, smells, sights, and new personal assistants. Life will get loud, smell funny, you'll see things you did not want to see, and there will be volunteers. To help you. You need help.

Dog lovers know. We have 2 dogs. Angus Lee, a black with white spots, or white with black spots (your choice) Catahoula and black lab mix. He thinks with his nose and decides with his eyes. Dante DuBois, blue nose staffy and bulldog mix. He doesn't think. Part bowling ball and friendly hippo, his prime directive is to keep me in his sights and wrap himself around me if at all possible. Both dogs want to help. I need help. My bathroom breaks need help.

When I sit, I'm joined by Angus' chin on my knee, soft doe-eyes looking up, “What'cha doin?”. He's worried I need help. Behind him, Dante, laying sphinx-style, chin on front paws, soft doe-eyes looking over Angus to me, “What'cha doin?” He's worried I need help.

Washing my hands, they both explode scrambling through the door to the stairs, to run down the stairs to wait at the bottom of the stairs for me to come downstairs. I've raised human younglings. They ran the stairs for Christmas morning quieter than these two dogs. As my foot hits the last stair before the first floor's hardwood they explode again, bolting toward the center of the room. Ready to assist. Assist in what, they have no idea. I liken the entire experience to being JUST MARRIED, traveling down the road, strands of cans tied to the car's bumper. No matter the turns, the cans follow, attached, declaring their purpose. Loudly.

If you’re strictly a parrot lifestyle person, saddle up. Talons and beaks and calls and shrieks when you leave the room to go. Best to take them with you. Parrots are not helpers. They are judges. Witnesses to our failure to perform most anything correctly. Their entire purpose is to keep the flock together at all times. Yeilding opportunities to point out just how confused we are at any moment ripe with us, thinking alone. Parrots can fly faster than we walk. A fact lost to me the day we decided parrots would be a fantastic addition to our personal space subtraction.

We have two shower curtain rods in the master bath shower. (Parrots modify your personal spaces for their personal needs.) One curtain rod is for our birds to perch when in the mood for privacy, napping, snacking, or showering. The other rod is for them to chew on a thing we called a 'shower curtain'. A personal space defining item parrots find stupid. Felix, our African grey, is particularly not interested in my personal space. I sit. He sits. On top of a box, we've covered with a towel for his comfort, which sits on the bathroom vanity counter. Eye level and two feet away, Felix stares at me. Waiting. I try to hold a conversation but that gets weird. I avert my eyes. He says, "Do your do!" I look down at the dogs for help. Felix asks, “See the birdie?” The dogs change soft doe-eyes to questioning stares. "Do you see the birdie? We are concerned. We are here to help." They are no help.

Before adopting the companion pet lifestyle, we’ve got the time and will to worry about what we look like to other human beings. How we act and what we are wearing is prioritized to stay out of jail and avoid being pointed at in public. Respectable law-abiding citizens wear matching socks. That’s an acid test in any interrogation room, federal or state. We comb our hair, maybe. Use objects referred to as 'mirrors'. Our time and personal space are enough to allow us to present a law-abiding upstanding citizen to our counterparts while shopping for toilet paper and sundries. Why, yes. I did brush my hair, teeth, and match my socks. Liberty and justice for all! God save the Queen!

Not long into the parrot life when pomegranate season kicks in, we become axe murderers. Every year we buy these purple carpet-bombing softballs knowing no matter what YouTube how-to video we watch; we are going to look like axe murderers when it's over. We slice, pull, peel, plop, roll, rub, and pull some more to eviscerate these leather carcasses of their sweet, red, juice filled arils. At the halfway point of the slaughter, red splattered clothes reflecting our attempt at an unnatural thing, we remember we forgot something at the store. If we put off going now, we'll forget, again. Which will make seven of the items we bought earlier unusable. We go back dressed in our professional axe murderer attire because we aren’t looking in mirrors anymore. And then I end up in an interrogation room downtown showing the cops my socks don't match.

This life gets noisy. We kept the dogs when we added the parrots. The parrots taught the dogs how to howl. The dogs taught the parrots how to bark. Felix taught them all he's not playing this game and shouts, "STOP! BAD BIRD!" He'll be the one to make the annoying loud noises, thank you very much. Which becomes Felix delivering an ambulance-back up the truck-beep that finds its way down a human's spine, detonating at the tailbone. Barking parrots. A bunch of amateurs.

Beautiful, possibly romantic nature, and its sunsets are now color cued long distant Tribal Screams to Costa Rica with dogs howling to add their 5G bandwidth.

Floors with crime scene outlines made of parrot poop. Mop and you don't know where the sofa died. You'll scoot furniture around for days hunting for the angles that made it all fit before.

Our lifestyle affects those not living inside our life. My voice saying hello when I’m not there. A parrot chooses whose voice they prefer to utilize. Our son dropped off books he borrowed. Unlocking the front door and walking inside, Butters shouted greetings, “Hi!” Chris thought it was me and walked into the bird room, “Oh, hey! I didn’t think I’d ...see ...”

Eight pair of parrot eyes listened intently. Blinking. Judging. With extreme prejudice. Two other sets, soft and doe-like, looked up. "What'cha doin?" They wanted to help. Chris set the books down and backed out of the house slowly. He’s a civilian. He has no training for this lifestyle.

Kathy LaFollett is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to


  • My parrot dictated lifestyle means nothing but Goodwill furniture, ONLY holy secondhand clothes, constantly answering Jimmie‘s „Mom“ when I am with the birds downstairs and answering Jacko‘s „Mom“ when I am with the birds upstairs. My 18 year old great niece did NOT appreciate Jacko‘s company in the shower with her. Hmmm.

    Carol Buess on

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