Wednesday, May 29, 2013
My son visited on Memorial Day and Gracie, his Gray Parrot, joined our festivities. She and Barkleah share a mutual admiration. Gracie will be two soon. She has developed a vocabulary of over one hundred and fifty words. Her first words, "Barkleah doggie, grrrrr bark bark bark." created confusion. Her ability to capture words and sounds is amazing. We actually thought Barkleah was at the door announcing strangers approaching.
Gracie prefers mixed vegetables with a splash of scrambled egg for her meals. Like any child in their terrible two's, she nibbles the corn, carrots, and peas after the egg is devoured. She then relocates her food bowl
Barkleah, continually hungry, quickly gobbles up the spilled meal and sits next to the cage in anticipation of seconds.
Gracie loves to sing, chatter, and address each of our family members by name. She greets us with her version of a short story. She arrives in a travel cage. Once inside our home, she begins with "Gracie goes in car. Gracie goes to see Mommy(that's me) and Bill . Gracie wants veggies." She then opens with her version of Jesus Loves Me, Bird, Bird, Bird, Is the Word, or You Are My Sunshine.
All the while, Barkleah sits in awe. He seems to understand that she is part of the family and should be treated with respect. He rarely leaves her side. When she moves from her cage, perch, or travel cage, she manages an excursion, flying from room to room and then back to her intended landing. Occasionally, that landing can be the top of one's head. Being tall, Bill is often her landing strip of choice. He diplomatically waves his hand across his head and she gently resumes flight.
Gracie, a wonderful addition to our menagerie, is a life long commitment. She has the life expectancy of around fifty years. Her level of intelligence will reach that of a five year old child. And never say anything around her that you do not want to have repeated. She does not miss ONE word.
Monday, May 13, 2013
With Miss Bailey, our black lab, transferred to the Rainbow Bridge, our lives became less active—initially. With her eighty-five pound frame, Bailey’s role as protector of our home developed naturally. After Barkleah came to live with us, Bailey taught her everything she knew about home security. She and Barkleah made the perfect duo.
Barkleah, an eleven pound Toy Fox Terrier, protected his home. He listened for intruders with his tall–bat ears. Performing periscope-like precision, his head pivoted toward unwelcome sounds. He barked the alert. His ability to catch the UPS man slip away without ringing the bell was perfected. Then Bailey marched to the front door and joined in the barking announcement. “Don’t try to come in here.”
Now Barkleah has assumed both roles. He is quick to announce the uninvited guests. He races to the front door in record time. But to my surprise, he progressed to attack dog.
Last week, the UPS driver stealthily placed a package by our front door. Barkleah raced to give him the warning bark. As the UPS truck pulled away, I opened the front door to pick up the package. Barkleah uncharacteristically continued barking and pushed past me. Charging out the door, he raced across the yard and ran to the street. Fortunately, he stood on the curb and informed the deliveryman not to try coming up on his porch again.
With this new behavior, I now scoop Barkleah up in my arms before opening any outside door. He almost got promoted to Bailey’s assistant at the bridge. He is needed here. He takes me on walks twice daily, he warms me as I snuggle with him in the bed, and he keeps me smiling with his antics.
Stay tuned for more stories about Barkleah, Carlos the Maine Coon cat, and Gracie the African Gray parrot. What kind of pet do you have? Are your pets as silly as mine?