Just for today she decided to leave the dishes, dance wildly, sing at the top of her voice, chase dreams and climb trees, just for today…
It’s the thought that runs through my head, inspired of course, by Monique Duval’s, The Persistence Of Yellow, as I am climbing the huge maple tree in our backyard…to rescue, not the family cat, but the pet parrot…
Yes, yes, he should be able to manage on his own…he climbed up, didn’t fly, he’s more able to hang onto tricky branches then a cat, so you’d think anyway. Except he’s special…a bit ‘touched’ my grandma would have said. See he was born in Florida about 26-ish years ago. He came to me a recycled pet, a rescue. The name he came with 8 years ago and goes by to this day is Doc.
Captured as an egg (I’m sure it was tricky, you know how rascally eggs can be,) in the Everglades, hatched and then sold in a pet store that benefits Everglades projects aimed at maintaining and preserving North America’s only tropical Rain Forest. The story goes that an elderly lady purchased him as a baby with explicit instructions on how to handfeed and properly rear a little feathered blue devil…her intent was to have a loyal companion in the absence of her recently deceased husband. This makes perfect sense. Buy an animal that has the intellect of a three to five year old and lives to be anywhere from 70 to 100 years old…in your twilight years. Why not, it’s for a good cause anyway, right?
Apparently she listened and retained only the part about feeding him because he came back to the same petstore five or six years later, fully grown but disfigured and meaner than a three legged tasmanian devil. She had raised him in the same small juvenile cage she took him home in and while her intentions may have been good, I’m guessing at some point he got nippy and she quit letting him out of his cage.
The result is a neurotic, feather plucking, one-time biting, giant blue parrot who can crush broom sticks with his beak, but cannot extend his wings, take flight or even stretch to show off his, mostly, feathered glory. Both wings move where they are attached to his body but not at the next joint (elbow), they stay folded over his back. The toes on his feet also suffered from lack of exercise and are crooked, two of them criss-cross each other permanently.
I have examined him while fully under anesthesia and it’s not just that he is stiff…he isn’t…he’s rigid, he’d break if I tried to unhinge his frozen body parts.
Needless to say, because I am not worried about him taking flight, I often give him full and unencumbered tree privileges in the Maple tree out back. No other trees touch it, it’s dense and bushy, it offers cover from other large birds that might pass our way, and it’s good for his sense of adventuring and exploring. (Aw, I know, I am totally sweet.)
[As a side note, I love carnage. I will laugh at a grown man or woman going ass-over-tea-kettle until spit comes out my nose…or until I turn blue… If you need stitches or gravel dug from your flesh from some harrowing mishap, I’m more than willing to do it for you…find someone else to clean out your boil, but I’m happy to cringe on the sideline.That said, kid and pet carnage are not always funny…]
I was sitting on the back patio last week, ice-tea in hand, totally lost deep in thought…sitting not far from the aforementioned maple tree, you can probably not imagine how high I jumped just from puckering my cheeks when Doc (the parrot) crashed down on the sidewalk next to me and bounced three times before he came to a rest.
After very thoroughly checking him out I determined that no bones were broken, no head trauma, and hoped that he didn’t have any contusion to his heart or chest that would cause problems in the near future. He did have a good sized bruise on his chest by the next day and down one of his legs. Except now, ten days later…um…it’s kinda (only the tiniest bit, I promise) funny.
So yesterday he went back up the tree. He does it by himself and had not ventured up there since his recent free-fall experience. After three hours in the tree I suggested he come down and go to bed as I was leaving the house for a run. He ignored me…I thought. Three hours later, run done and poolside lounging crossed off my to-do list, I returned home to hear him squaking from the very very tippy top of the damned tree. I yelled back that he needed to come down but continued to wait for him to do it…we hosted a Greek souvlaki backyard bar-b-q, with four of our friends and their kids. We (kids) played games, had dessert, (I) did crafts with the kids, kissed and hugged everyone good-bye and started cleaning up. Three or four more hours had passed…
As dark approached Doc reminded me of his predicament with a few loud screeches. The thought that he was scared of how high up he was started to get firmer in my mind. No food all day, no water…getting dark…the no food part would have brought me down! Plus, he’s afraid of the dark. 😉 *Sigh* looks like Imabout to climb a tree…
I had to climb to the freaking top of that tree. Really. No picutres exist of that moment at the top when he and I were reunited because my husband was too worried I would fall. Worried (most) I’d fall on the kids running around trying to spy their mom fifty feet up a tree. 😉
You should have seen his face though. I know parrots look like they can’t smile but he was smiling. Doc has never been accused of being overly friendly, remember when I said he came to me as a “biter”? He hasn’t bitten me in like six years, we have boundaries and certain routines, he isn’t allowed on my shoulder for one, I don’t push my luck for two.
First thing that peckerhead does? climbs right down my arm onto my shoulder. I just shook my head, averted my eyes, (so he wouldn’t be tempted to peck them out) and told myself I couldn’t die from a parrot bite, then I told him if he bit me he’d be the first one out of that tree and back on the ground.
The best part? The whole way back, down-climbing that overgrown, dirty, cobweb infested tree, he’s telling me, “Good Boy, Good boy, Good boy,” over and over. Aw. He was encouraging me. He rarely, rarely talks too so it was endearing. He did lose his balance a few times and used my ear and his beak to steady himself…that was scary.
Now we are both reunited with the ground and I’m sure tomorrow he will forget who it was who saved his sorry butt, for today, I’m somebody’s hero…