I wasn’t looking for a pet bird when ‘Tweety’ entered my life.  I’d owned four parakeets, over the years, and had enjoyed all of them, but I thought I was finished with the ‘bird phase’ of my life.  Little did I know…

The year was 2005, and I was still working at school, as a parapro, then volunteering at the local animal shelter during weekends and summers.  Everyone at school knew I was committed to finding homes for any animals who needed them–after all, I’d adopted over twenty of them during the past year alone!

I was in my classroom, working, when a co-worker stuck her head in the door and asked if I’d be interested in adopting a parakeet.  She said a pretty green and yellow bird had showed up at their house, under their carport.  She said the bird was relatively tame, so her husband had been able to capture it.  They had not been able to find its owner, and she wasn’t interested in keeping it, so she thought of me.  Without giving it a second thought, I agreed to take the bird.’Tweety’ came to me housed in a tiny pink mouse cage, which the teacher said I could have.

I quickly determined that it was a male bird, from the blue-colored area where its nostrils were located, just above its beak.  Judging from the ‘color bars’ still left on its head, the bird was still fairly young.  Probably under a year old.  I couldn’t keep a parakeet in a mouse cage, so I quickly found him a bird cage on eBay and ordered it. For some reason, I decided to call the bird, ‘Tweety’, but in later years,  I usually just called him ‘Tweeters’.

When I got the bird home,  he was wild as he could be, and flapped his wings every time I neared his cage.  It took weeks for him to calm down enough so I could feed and water him peacefully! I often wondered how in the world that teacher’s husband managed to lay his cap over that bird, in order to capture it!

I believe, Tweety’s previous owners had taught him to talk.  I could tell, because I once taught a parakeet how to talk.  They ‘talk’ in a certain pitch and tone, and you have to listen closely to decipher what they are saying, especially at first.  Listening to what parakeets are saying is often difficult because they do most of their talking when it’s noisy around them.

For some reason, Tweety liked my daughter, and did most of his ‘talking’ when she was around. We noticed, when she started talking, Tweety started ‘talking’, too, but we were never able to understand what he was saying.  If we got quiet and tried to listen, Tweety got quiet, as well.  (We did notice, recently, that Tweety had learned how to imitate the baby chicks who had been staying next-door, in the pool room!)

Tweety lived, in his cage, on top of my curio cabinet, which is located in a corner of the living room.  He seemed to like his ‘bird’s eye view’ of his surroundings, and I liked the way the decorative top edge of the curio cabinet caught all of the stray seeds and feathers, and kept them out of sight.  Birds are messy creatures!

I hung a two-sided mirror in Tweety’s cage, and he dearly loved it!  A little bell hung from the end of the mirror, too.  Tweety loved kissing and talking to his reflection in that mirror, and he loved ringing his bell!

The years passed, and I began to wonder how much longer Tweety was going to be with me. None of my other birds lived past the age of seven, and I was nearing the nine year mark with Tweety–not counting the time he’d spent with his previous owner!

A while back, I could tell that Tweety was slowing down.  He’d stopped using his cuttlebone to sharpen his beak, and didn’t ring his bell quite as often.  A couple of weeks ago, I noticed more changes, and I knew Tweety’s days were growing short.

Yesterday morning, when I got up, I immediately noticed Tweety wasn’t on his perch.  I looked in the bottom of his cage, and there he sat.  Tweety was alive, but I knew he wouldn’t be for much longer. Tweety quietly passed away a couple of hours later.

This morning the house is eerily quiet.  No sounds of Tweety hopping around in his cage, no sounds of his ringing bell.  Yesterday afternoon, Ed buried Tweety, along with ‘Ethan’, the dog, and ‘Della’, the baby chick, who died recently.  Our pet cemetery continues to grow.

It’s amazing how God’s creatures can enter our lives and become such a part of us!  I always begin to fret as my pets grow older (and I have a lot who are!).  It’s painful to have to say “good-bye”, but, in the end, I wouldn’t change a thing because of the joy they bring.

Rest in peace, dear ‘Tweeters’.  Perhaps we’ll meet again someday…

Published in: on November 4, 2014 at 10:38 am  Comments (5)  
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So You Want To Talk About Pets!

I am a lover of animals, keeper of pets, and I take my job VERY SERIOUSLY!  Many people have various things that they are passionate about–my passion is animals!  My family would argue that I am maybe a little too passionate about them… 

a message left for me by my clever youngest son

Six years ago I was working at our local elementary school, and volunteering at our local animal shelter.  As a result of both jobs,  my list of pets became quite long…and it hasn’t changed much today! 

  A pond full of goldfish/koi,  two hermit crabs,  a hamster,  2 rabbits,  a parakeet,   21 cats and kittens of various ages,  and  5 dogs!   Yes, our house is known as a sort of “mini-zoo”! 

The pond and fish was an anniversary gift from my husband, which I wrote about in an earlier post.  We’ve had it for many years, but I still enjoy watching the fish swim around.  We’ve battled birds, snakes, and turtles for the sake of our fish in that little pond! 

The two hermit crabs and  the hamster were classroom pets– kept at school during the week, but brought home on weekends and holidays.  Every Monday and Friday would find me lugging my precious cargo back and forth.  It wasn’t an easy task, but the children loved our classroom pets! 


  It was no wonder that our classroom quickly became a popular spot for other students to visit.  The sight of little “Oreo”, the hamster, rolling around in his ball brought squeals of joy to the children. 

"Sugar Pie" shelter rabbitI rescued our first rabbit, “Sugar Pie”,  from the animal shelter after somebody discarded her after Easter was over.  The second rabbit, “Honey Bun”, was a gift from a co-worker and friend. The rabbits share a large bunny hutch with a partition in the middle of it, so they can be near each other, but not close enough to make baby bunnies! 

My parakeet, “Tweety”,  is a rescued bird.  Another friend and co-worker found him lurking underneath her car port one day.  Her husband was actually able to catch him.  They did not want a bird, and didn’t know who he belonged to…so she thought of me, and asked if I’d take him.  I could tell that he’d been someone’s pet, and he even talks at times–especially when my daughter comes over.  However, his speech is garbled and we can’t quite make out his words.  I’ve had him for five years.  “Tweety” has to live on top of my curio cabinet because “Bobs”, the house cat,  has this strong desire to catch him and have him for a meal… 

Once I began volunteering at the shelter, my outdoor cat “herd” quickly began to grow.  There is always an abundance of cats and kittens at the shelter, and most of them get euthanized.  There was a time when I “tried to save them all”.  My assortment of  cats quickly grew from 4 to 21!  My husband dreaded seeing my car door open on Friday nights, for fear of another hungry mouth exiting the car! 

Outdoor cats live perilous lives, and our numbers have diminished to around 16 or 17.  One died of old age, while some were victims of predators,  lizard poisoning, etc.  Did you know that eagles will kill and eat grown cats?  If the cat is small enough, the eagle will actually carry it away… cats also eat lizards–and some lizards(blue tailed ones) are poisonous to them.   

Please note the “Cat Cafe`” in the picture below.  My loving husband built it for me, so my cats could eat without worrying about the dogs stealing their food.  It’s about four feet off the ground, and has a top on it to protect the cats from the rain.  My sweet husband also built the rabbit’s hutch. some cats eating at the "Cat Cafe`" 

Although cats are my first love, I am not immune to dogs.  Although we already had one dog, a dalmatian,  within six months I adopted 5 more!  We became the parents of 2 more adult dogs, and 3 puppies during those six months.  Two of the adults have since passed away from old age, as well as one nearly grown dog who eventually had to be euthanized due to incurable red mange.  We desperately tried to save the dog with red mange.  We put him through 3 rounds of treatment, but he grew sicker with each one.  Finally, we decided it would be more humane to end his suffering.  The vet agreed.  He’s the white puppy in the picture below, and his name was Freckles.  What a heart-breaking ending for such a beautiful dog!  Ethan, the hound puppy in the picture, also suffered from the same “red mange” but responded well to the treatment and was cured. 

Me sitting with 3 of my dog babies... in 2004

I suppose I don’t have to tell you that for a good while,  most of my paycheck went toward vet care, and buying food for all of these pets!  Every one of my cats and dogs is spayed or neutered.  Even though our vet gave me a discount, and the county paid half of the cost, it still cost a lot of money.  I don’t regret a penny of it though.  It’s the only way to control the pet population. 

Every two weeks, it takes a shopping cart just to hold the pet foods and supplies for “my zoo”.  I can’t tell you how many conversations have been started by the sight of my cart full of animal supplies!  It’s been especially tough to  make the money stretch now that I’ve retired, and the economy has taken such a downturn.  I try not to let my husband go shopping for supplies with me because he tends to get ” ill”  when he sees the total on the bill! 

The hermit crabs and the hamster have passed away.  I no longer volunteer at the animal shelter.  It’s too hard to go and leave so many “needy” animals behind each time.  I’ve decided that I’ve done all that I can do there.  Even though I don’t go to the shelter these days, sometimes animals still manage to find their way to my door.  Two more cats have joined our family during the past year. 

I’m determined to care for my pet population for as long as they live…or I live–whatever!  By then my husband and I will probably be looking for someone to help take care of us…do you think there might be a place for us at the shelter? 

If you are interested in reading more of my animal adventures– just click on the links “Shelter Tales” or “pets” at the top of this blog…

Thanks so much to Brent Riggs for hosting Tuesday’s themed blog hop.  Just click on the link below to visit more participating blogs.

MckLinky Blog Hop

Click here to enter your link in the blog hop and view the entire list of entered links…

Published in: on March 15, 2010 at 8:56 pm  Comments (8)  
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