Being a pet owner has its privileges. I get to be a part of their little intimate lives. It’s an honour, especially in the case of my little gal, Dora. She’s a parrotlet, a tiny Amazon parrot. According to Wikipedia:
Parrotlets are a group of the smallest New World parrot species, comprising several genera, namely Forpus, Nannopsittaca, and Touit. They have a stocky build and a broad tail, much like the lovebirds of East Africa and fig parrots and pygmy parrots of Australasia. They are endemic to Middle and South America.These miniature parrots in the wild travel in flocks which, depending on the species, can range from as low as four to over 100 birds. Most species travel in flocks of about 5–40. They form life-long and tight pair bonds with their chosen mates.Parrotlets are the smallest commonly bred Parrot species in captivity. The genus Forpus, particularly the Celestial or Pacific Parrotlet, is growing in availability and popularity in aviculture.
I adore Dora. She’s about 3 inches long and every inch is filled with attitude. She loves me, too, and there’s something about having a little bird think you are fantastic that is so strange and wonderful it never fails to touch me. My puppy loves me, too, but dogs are supposed to love people. It’s their job. Birds aren’t supposed to love us. They are wild things, after all. So when Dora hangs upside down to peer at me and beg to come out, or when she flies through the apartment looking for me, only to land on my head and settle there, it is infinitely heartwarming.
She cuddles in on my forearm when I write, gently and persistently wrecks all my pens and papers, and lets me groom her to get those pesky feather wraps off her beautiful blue feathers. I’ve seen her eat an entire half sandwich – freakiest of all was that it was a “baby chicken” sandwich – fried egg and cheese. She loved it, but then she likes eggs, generally speaking.
Today I was treated to a Dora bath on my desk. It can’t be good for my computer components but it is so cute to watch her in her mini tub, splashing water all over herself. It’s an oddly intimate moment – when her feathers are wet, she can’t fly as well – so she is putting herself at risk, bathing so close to a big human person. I’m honoured by her trust. Of course, in her mind, she could take me anytime.
It’s such a blessing being able to see into the minds of our non-human companions. It teaches us so much – about ourselves, about the world around us. In many ways we are our best or worst selves with them.
For me, I’m likely to become a crazy bird lady. She was always my favourite character in Mary Poppins … although in these days of the 99% and 1%, the message means more. We share with our pets; we must share with our fellow humans, too.