Thursday, September 12, 2013

My Little Buddy

Back in the early 1990s Rob and I lived in Maryland with our three dogs Pylon, Bentley and Lucy. We also had two budgies, Schroeder and Vandal. On the Friday before the long Memorial Day weekend Bentley had a vet appointment. When we arrived at the vet's office I took him into the exam room and Rob sat in the waiting room chatting with the receptionist. When Bentley and I came out Rob was still sitting there, but he was chatting with a new friend. There was a little gray Cockatiel on his shoulder munching on a treat that Rob was holding for him. We asked the vet about him and she told us a sad tale.

Buddy had belonged to an old man who also had three cats. The man had owned Buddy for many years, either eight or ten, but Buddy had learned how to call the cats and the man didn't feel it was safe to keep him any more. He told our vet that he was going to just release the bird outside, but she talked him out of it. She offered him free rabies vaccinations for his cats if he'd give Buddy to her. She didn't really want him, but knew releasing him would be certain death for the little guy.

Now with the long weekend approaching, she asked us if we'd take him home for the weekend. If he got along with our other birds, we could keep him, if not we'd take him back to her on Tuesday. Rob was quite taken with the little fellow, so we loaded his cage into the car beside Bentley and went home.

Everyone got along well. All the birds were curious about each other, but didn't get nasty, so Buddy stayed. I'd put the dogs on the deck and let him walk around the house. His favorite activity was picking up dog biscuit crumbs that the dogs left behind on the carpet.

The vet told us that Buddy could talk, but a couple weeks went by and we didn't hear a peep out of him except that promptly at four every afternoon, he'd screech until I covered his cage. He did this his entire life and even seemed to know about daylight savings time. I didn't need a clock around with Buddy. I always knew when it was 4:00.

After Buddy had been with us about three weeks I was working in the office one day when I heard a man's voice downstairs. I wasn't expecting Rob home for several hours so I sneaked halfway down the stairs and peeked around the corner. The three dogs were all sitting in a row in front of the bird cage and Buddy was talking to them. " Hello Baby", "Pretty Baby", and my favorite "Here kitty, kitty". He sounded like a little old man, the voice he remembered from his earlier life.

Buddy had accepted his new home and started talking to us every day. He'd also sing. He had a terrible singing voice, but when we covered him at 4, he'd climb off his perch, sit on the bottom of his cage and sing for about an hour.

We both grew very fond of Buddy and we felt a little sorry for him. He was so sweet but we thought he must be lonely, so one night just before Christmas, Rob came home with a female Cockatiel. Because of the season and because of Buddy Holly, we named her Holly.
Buddy did not like this stranger in his cage and would snap at her, but he was also curious about her. Holly was very good natured and accepted his rudeness. Soon they were a pair. He would talk to her and preen her and she taught him to try new foods that he had previously ignored. He learned to like apples and broccoli and corn on the cob.

One morning a few months later we found an egg on the bottom of the cage. We weren't too pleased, but Buddy was thrilled. He sat on the egg around the clock. Soon there were six eggs and Buddy was totally involved with them. He never left them, even to eat. We worried that he'd starve, but Holly started feeding him as he attended his nest. Unfortunately, his eggs didn't hatch. You see, Buddy had been a bachelor for a very long time and he didn't know just what to do with his lady friend. She tried to teach him, but Buddy never learned. Eventually when the eggs didn't hatch, he'd give up and I'd remove the eggs. Then they'd start over. Holly would lay another six eggs and Buddy would try to hatch them.
Buddy and Holly made the move to Missouri with us, but Holly died not too long after moving here. Buddy was lost without her so we got another young female and called her Holly II. She and Buddy tolerated each other, but it wasn't the same. Buddy died not long after our big ice storm in 2007. We think he was between 20 and 26 years old. He was a real character, loved by everyone who met him.


Two French Bulldogs said...

what a story. We didn't realize they lived that long...
Benny & Lily

Kerry said...

So sweet! Buddy was a lucky boy. I love birds, but can't have them because of our cats.

scotsmad said...

We have lots of wild cockatiels here. We see them at the river. Buddy sounds like quite a character. We didn't know they could talk!

XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

We were also impressed by the 'budgies'. Most people call them parakeets.

Marjie said...

That is a sweet story. I love him calling the dogs: "Here, kitty, kitty, kitty."

Jo's World said...

Very sweet story, Sue! I love the last picture too. My mother had two parakeets but I had little interest in them. My Dad had a friend who had a mynah bird that would talk your arm off. I would love one of those, I think.



soulbrush said...

What an incredible story! Have you got a Buddy2? You should maybe. I do love your animal tales and you write to well -but then I have said this to you many times before. Are you- like me dreading the cold dark Wintery days??

Nichole Burke said...

Awww...... my Mom & Dad always had birds. We had several parakeets while I was growing up, then cockateils, a parrot... now they have 2 cockateils (sp?)

SissySees said...

What a tender story! It's fun to hear about your birds and dogs of yore.

Mitch and Molly said...

What a sweet story and we absolutely love that last picture!

Love ya lots♥
Mitch and Molly

Life with Wrigs said...

Buddy sounds like he was an amazing little bird. Glad he found his way to your home.

Susan and Wrigs