The last time I had a pet dog was during law school days. It was an afghan hound- very tall and very hairy. All law students would agree that if you are studying law, you spend hours and hours poring over the pages of your law books even during ordinary days to prepare for a possible graded recitation. Considering that my schooling usually ends at night, I didn’t have the time to bond with my dog until it died of a broken heart. Like humans, dogs have feelings too. My heart sank when I came home one night to find it lying down motionless. Fearing that another dog would suffer the same fate, I had to satisfy my “maternal instinct” by turning to turtles and birds instead of a furry friend. With dogs, there is the constant fear of outliving my pet again. Further, dogs have emotional needs. To my mind, birds and turtles are not as emotional as dogs. As I write, my brother Ramon is grieving the loss of his dog-Clotty. Clotty was ran over by a truck the other night. He died instantly.
In 1995, my older brother Luis gave me a female umbrella head cockatoo. My Family simply calls it Parrot but I named it Tak tak then my kids later on named it Nigel based from the evil cockatoo in the Disney movie RIO. I bought it a mate in 2005 but its mate escaped.Its been twenty two years and for the third time, Nigel escaped its cage. Nigel dashed out of its cage when my Mom opened the cage to feed it.
The nice thing about Nigel is it merely stays in the garden hopping from branch to branch. Occasionally it visits its cage but clearly, it has no intention of staying there. My current predicament is feeding it because the trees are too high. Further, Nigel has developed the habit of walking on the grounds searching for fallen fruits and scattered sunflowers- a potential meal for a lot of stray cats. Studies have shown that stray and feral cats have contributed to the decline of uncaged birds. I decided to put a basket in a Bignay tree. So far it is working.
More on feeding the birds, my children just wasted one jar of birdseed to feed the neighbors’ pigeons which took up residence in our roof. The nice thing about feeding the uncaged birds is that you don’t have to worry about cleaning their surroundings. However, the danger lies in the spread of diseases.
In closing, I leave you with a quote made by Anatole France which goes: Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.