Pets can’t be replaced, so ‘distract yourself’ with another
Columnist Chuck Menk
These birds often live 60-65 years, and in Duke’s case, without ever saying a word!
As I mentioned in this column a year ago, I quickly took my own advice and found a beautiful orange and yellow Conure that the pet-shop owner insisted was a “bad bird” with an attitude. Because of this, he sold me a bird that had listed at almost $2,000 for $400. He couldn’t get rid of Willie fast enough, and a year later, we couldn’t be happier with him!
He has two cages now, one of them a portable one that allows him to visit me at my other desk. Willie greets me and anyone opening up the office at the start of the day with friendly chirping.
You can hear it in his voice: “You’re here! You’re here! Come play with me!!”
Willie beckons us to come over to the cage with an obvious head twist, and he’ll keep doing it till you come over to the cage. Then he’ll do his trick, swinging back and forth inside the cage with one “hand” just to show off! When he’s out “visiting,” he’ll spend time pealing and eating a grape, and then will walk right onto my desk and try to get my attention by standing right on my paperwork. (Please forgive any notes you receive from me that might have a green spot or two somewhere!)
I still miss Dukie who was a fixture here at Port Clinton Square all those years.
Duke loved only me and was a typical one-person bird, as I pointed out to my grandkids’ classes a few years back on “Pirate Day” at Lake Bluff Middle School. That day, my son Wes stood behind me, wearing an eye-patch the teachers had provided, but his job was to keep my shoulder clean during my presentation!
Willie came into my life just a few days after Duke passed away, and it just goes to show you how important it is to go get another pet when you lose one. You can’t replace a beloved pet, but you can “distract yourself” with a new one, and that’s what we have always done, with cats, dogs and even squirrels. But squirrels can’t stay in the house forever, as we learned over the years! When a repairman once spotted our pet squirrel Elsa dart across the living room, he asked if he had just seen a squirrel in the house.
“Are you kidding?” I told him, denying everything! “Maybe it’s time for you to knock off for the day young man!”
When we first spoke about Willie in this column, two readers came up to see him on the same day it came out, and Willie enjoyed the attention. We’ve had dogs, birds and even a pot-bellied pig in the office. None of our staff complains about them, but we have to watch where we’re walking, because Willie likes to wander. Come up and see him some time!