We just adopted a beautiful, loving medium-size dog from the local county shelters. We call her Tilda, and in less than a week she learned that name. She’s smart, loves to cuddle and lick her people, doesn’t bother the birds, but still isn’t sure how she feels about the cat. Luckily the cat is outside and Tilda is inside.
The impact on the birds has been interesting. Tilda is a quiet dog, for the most part, but if someone drives by our house with the bass turned up on their car radio, she will bark. When she wants to go out, she whimpers politely. If she gets too excited, she sneezes.
As I was cleaning the kitchen, I heard Tilda whimpering. But when I looked for her, she was asleep in her favorite chair. I heard her bark, and sneeze. The parrots have found a new source of entertainment in every noise she makes.
Indian Ringneck Wraith has always copied the cat’s meow. Now he barks. Congo African Grey Io grew up around 2 pugs. He added Tilda’s whimper to the pugs’ snuffling and wheezing. I haven’t exactly discovered who is copying her sneeze.
Maynard likes to whistle and say, “Come right here!” when he wants me to come to him. I don’t know if Tilda will ever respond to him, but I do expect him to add “Tilda!” to the names he calls. In fact, the one area that has not gone as well as expected is between Tilda and Maynard.
Jealousy is rampant in parrots and Tilda is still figuring out how long she will get to stay with us. I am very careful to keep Maynard’s out time sacred, but Tilda can be nearby. On almost the first day she was with us, Maynard went to check her out from the ottoman. Her little corkscrew tail wagged, and Maynard bounced up and down, following it. I grabbed my phone to capture that moment, but then the Amazon lunged at the terrier and bit her on the back of her neck.
Tilda climbed up on my lap for protection. Maynard laughed maniacally and tried to land a second bite. Luckily the first one didn’t break the skin, and after a little cuddling, the dog was fine. The bird went back in his cage. Tilda will no longer make eye contact or even look at Maynard. He has at last learned to ignore her.
Of course, I am not complacent about having the birds out when the dog is around, but she tends to stay next to her people. So I can watch her at all times. Last night lovebird Tekla tried to fly and ended up on the floor. Startled, Tilda ran to her, barking. Tekla spread her wings, opened her beak, and charged back at the dog. The dog retreated. So far it’s parrots, two – Tilda, zero.
Please know that I do not encourage anyone to have their dogs or cats in the same room with any birds in free flight or play time. Know your dog, but don’t trust any pets. I’ve been lucky so far, and I know that. Still, I am thrilled the birds are getting almost as much fun from the dog as we are.
Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Thursday.