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This may come as a surprise to a few folks but, historically, I’ve always been against keeping birds as pets. I always thought that if the critters have wings, they should never be caged. Unless they couldn’t survive on their own, maybe crippled or sick. I’ve also felt the same way about fish, but more for birds.

So I’ve always been ambivalent about having one. Then, a couple of years ago, we had the opportunity to take care of some baby birds. It was quite the experience. One of them broke my heart by dying, when everyone else made it through childhood and were able to fly away, back to their ungrateful parents.

Anyway, we now have a new addition to the family. A lovely little African Gray parrot named Zoey. She’s eight months old and quite precocious already. I guess. I wouldn’t really know, but I never turn down the chance to use the word ‘precocious.’ She is quite intelligent, though. And she’s very lovable and likes to perch up on people’s shoulders. For a parrot, that’s a very important trait I look for. The next step is to purchase an eye patch and teach her to say, “Aaaahhhhhrrrrrrrr, me matey!”

Speaking of speaking, she doesn’t yet. She’s made some good attempts at “hello” but she needs more practice yet. She can beep like a watch, bark like a dog, and meow like a cat, though. She can also laugh and do a wolf whistle.

Nobody really knows me until they understand about me and animals. I love them all, and would own all of them if I could. I absolutely hate going to animal shelters and pet stores because I see all these cats and dogs that need a home, and I can’t do anything about it. It kills me a little inside every time I see it. I get attached to strays.

The worst part is that they know it. I’m not claiming I have weird animal powers. No, I claim that I’m the biggest sucker for animals around and they sense it. I’m easily trainable by many species.

Which, ironically, is why I don’t like having pets. I feel horrible when, inevitably, they die. I’ve known people who don’t really think much of it. “Time for a new dog,” or whatever. I’m a wreck. If a cat goes missing for more than two days I’m freaking out. And every time, especially after Baby Huey, I swear I’ll never get attached to another animal. I swear it.

But I always do. Because I’m a complete sucker.

I can’t wait to see how Zoey grows up. What kind of words she’ll learn to say, what noises she’ll make. Will she be able to count and tell the differences in shapes and colors? It’ll be neat to see.

I’m also amused at the cats. They seem to take everything in stride. They’re curious for a while and then they seem like they don’t worry about it.

The day I see Zoey riding on Juniors back will be quite a site. I would never, ever try and get either one of them to do it, but if it did happen I hope I have a camera to capture the moment.

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