I just finished a 6-day stretch of flying. I have tomorrow off with the exception of a meeting, and then I go back to a 5-day grind. I’ve been getting up at 5 a.m. to get the birds and Mattie up, out and fed. The Greys and Mattie have gotten used to my leaving before the sun is up and I suspect that they simply just assume their various positions and turn in for a snooze for a while.
Nyla has made friends with Pepper. They sit together quite nicely on the front porch for their sun baths less than 6 inches apart and seem quite peaceful in their companionship. I think they are in agreement in their loathing of Parker’s bossiness and pushy approach. In other words, one doesn’t share a perch with Parker without him assuming you are in a serious game of “King of the Hill”.
In the morning, they are a fairly agreeable bunch, diving right into their bowls of vegetables and nuts, and there is generally silence while I’m putting on my “Work Makeup” while simultaneously chugging a cup of coffee and zipping through overnight email. This morning I mixed some frozen pureed squash that I warmed up in the microwave and mixed into their breakfast. That piqued their interest and they chowed down on this seemingly warm and comforting new addition. It was a good idea…they liked the variation on their normal food and it was a nice and nutritious change of pace for them.
At that hour, Mattie is usually pecking around in her bowl of raw meat diet, glucosamine pill and salmon oil. I got her on a raw diet about a year ago and the difference it has made to this old, abandoned, sick and nearly deaf little Shih Tzu I found in the parking lot a year and a half ago is nothing short of a miracle. She can run when she feels like it and she can hear. She is bright-eyed, alert and occasionally displays a little personality.
Mattie is more like a cat than a dog. She’s present but very rarely barks, sleeps on her back with all 4 paws in the air and is the most charming, unobtrusive little creature I’ve ever met. She has an enormous fan base in my building and wags her tail gently and greets the Seniors in the building carefully and slowly. Jumping up is not in Mattie’s repertoire, mostly because she couldn’t be bothered. They love her!
Mattie won’t be too pleased with me tomorrow. I have a meeting tomorrow at 1 p.m. and at noon I’ll be dropping her off to the groomer for her haircut which includes a shave job, bath, and custom mohawk hairdo. Mattie isn’t the “Bows and Pom-poms” kind of girl and looks ridiculous in a “girly” haircut. She’s a stocky girl, not at all delicate and when she came out of the groomers with bows, I thought she was going to die of embarrassment. The groomer quickly tied a bandanna around Mattie’s neck while saying, “You know, that doesn’t really work, does it?”
I think they finally have come to understand that Mattie’s stocky little body looks better with her mohawk as it has a “slimming effect”. And it certainly makes her stand out among all of the cutesy little hairdos most little dogs get.
Mattie is always more active and full of herself after she gets a haircut. She gets squirrely and moves around more, following me around and it outs a prance in her step. She’s simply more comfortable.
Mattie, the birds and I all get along in a strange but functioning family where there’s more tails and beaks in the house than hands. But it works and it’s fun- even if it’s a hell of a lot of work.
Patricia Sund is a Free-Lance Writer residing in Florida with her three African Greys. She has been published in About.com, Bird Talk Magazine, Birds USA, In Your Flock Magazine, Good Bird Magazine as well as numerous websites and newsletters. She is currently doing research for a book titled "Parrot Nation".