Category Archives: Pets

Learning about Opie

Bubba and I took Opie, our cockatiel, to the bird vet for a well-bird checkup this morning. We’ve had her for three months now, and we’re really enjoying her.

The vet said she looked healthy, lean and happy. She said that The Princess and I cut her wing feathers too short last time we did it, so the vet will clip them next time and we will learn the right way to do it by watching her. I was relieved that we didn’t cause the bird any harm.

The bird’s nails are not to short or long. Her feathers look healthy – did you know they shed them in rows, so there’s always a bald spot somewhere if you really look closely?

And the vet thinks Opie’s a girl, too, due to her coloring. And she’s a mutt, just like our dogs. Her parents were a pearl and a pied cockatiel. And she has one gray feather in her headdress.

The vet said that we were feeding her right, and she was pretty social. And the vet suggested we look at her website to read about household hazards (frying pans, dogs, windows) and how to treat injuries.

We saw some birds that were up for adoption, but we decided we would stay a single-bird family until at least Christmas. This way we could really forge a strong bond with Opie.

The only thing I didn’t like about the vet was she seemed a little short with Bubba. I don’t think she knew how knowledgeable and gentle he was with birds. Oh well. Her loss, I guess. I imagine the only reason we would visit her anyway is to get Opie’s nails and feathers trimmed. Unless we learn to do it ourselves.

All in all, a good learning experience.

Sweet Little Girl

My brother’s dog passed away today. She was eight years old. He had raised her from a baby.

That’s what she was – a baby.

When he brought her home, he kept her in a cyclone-fence cage in the kitchen. Yep, my mom let him move the table out of the room so he could kennel the dog there. He kept this dog at his side constantly, training her with every motion or word. She could anticipate his every command, and would stop whatever she was doing in less than a heartbeat if my brother made a sound.

She was his shadow. They walked together, hunted in the park district woods and alleys. She was always perfectly behaved in public. Even when a large bully dog would try to instigate something with her, she would remain stockstill unless Greg gave her the go-ahead to defend herself.

She was gentle as could be with my sister’s babies, my children. She would ‘watch our backs’ when we slept over at their house during visits. She would curl up in the patch of sunshine on the front porch, following it with little movements so she was always warm.

When she was happy, she would run into the front room and ‘slide into home’, lying on her back and wiggling around. She would pester Mom for a tiny bit of waffle with syrup and butter every morning. My brother would come downstairs and say, “Little, you smell like syrup. Did Mommy give you a waffle?” It was their little routine.

She would lie by my dad’s chair when he took his daytime naps. She would bark at him when he made ‘mouth noises.’ She would tolerate the other dogs that come to visit, only occasionally and decisively keeping them in line.

She was soft and shiny. She didn’t have an ounce of fat on her muscular body. She had a head shaped like a shovel.

She liked to play “Fist” and “Watch Out for the Pointy Stick.” She would occasionally make ‘monkey brains’ out of her stuffed animals.

She was loving and sweet. She was an American Pit Bull Terrier. She was beautiful and rare and wonderful.

We’re all going to miss her very very much.
Love you Little.


There is a new member of the Orphie family.

His name is Opie and he’s a bird. A cockatiel. He is beautiful – pearled gray and yellow, with a yellow mohawk and tail and bright orange circles on his cheeks. He’s about six months old and very personable. He likes to hang out on people’s shoulders and prefers human company to being in his cage.

We love him. Especially Bubba. Right now, Bubba has him perched on his shoulder, showing him around the house.

It’s a sweet thing, watching a boy and his bird.