Pet of the Day

January 29, 2000

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Pickles, the Pet of the Day
Name: Pickles
Age: Six years old
Gender: Female
Kind: Cherry Headed Conure
Home: Memphis, Tennessee, USA
   When I found Pickles, I had no experience with birds. She had little experience with love - so it was a learning experience for both of us. I saw her one day in a pet store. She just sat there looking lonely. I saw a bag under her cage with the name "Pickles" written on it. I asked her if her name was Pickles and all of a sudden this seemingly quiet, introverted bird turned into a chatter box as she exclaimed that her name was "Pickles" over and over again. That was the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

    I found out that Pickles had been owned twice before I came along - both sets of owners abused her physically and by neglect. As you can imagine she had some real problems and insecurities. I received numerous bites for no apparent reasons at times. She was deathly afraid of hands. We took it slow - one day at a time. I was patient - never got angry, although at times, I wanted to cry because of how hard she bites! A lady at my bird club once told me - "You'll never be able to tame that bird. She's not hand raised - she's a second hand bird!" That only made my determination grow stronger. I bought numerous books, joined online parrot mailing lists, talked with avian veterans, and did as much research as my brain could handle. A month of bites, tears, bird screams, and frustrations passed and then one day she stepped up on my hand (for the first time), crawled up my arm, and started to "preen" my hair! I was overjoyed. This was just the beginning.

    Since then, Pickles and I have learned to trust each other even more. She now gives me kisses and rubs her face against my cheek. She loves to be petted on the head. If I am eating spaghetti, she HAS to have some too. Shes also a little bugger! If I don't watch it, she will steal potato chips from my hand when I'm not looking. And then, as she runs off with the chip - she laughs! She loves to come and lick the water off of my lips right after I take a drink. She says several words, like: "Pickles", "Pickle Wiggle", "Alright", "Okay!", "What?", "C'Mere Pickles", and "I Love You, Pickles". Whenever she wants attention she will tap her beak on her cage bars. I have only had Pickles for about a year now. Each day that goes by, our bond grows stronger. I never knew how much I could love a bird until I found her. It has also taught me an important lesson: Be dedicated with parrots. They are very intelligent, highly sensitive, and extremely social birds. Most people don't realize this and the birds are bought as decorations only to be put in a pet shop or a shelter later. They are such a joy, at least my Pickles is a joy. I think she is an angel in disguise!

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