My home.
Early afternoon.
My guests, husband and wife, are talking about the
new addition to their family.

They’re showing me pictures.
I look at the beautiful dog
These wonderful people saved the dog from being

They’ve been doing volunteer work for years.
And know a lot about the dire situation at the shelters.

Animal shelters are overcrowded.
More than a million dogs are killed every year.

Many people buy pets on a whim.
Especially around the holidays.

Few months later they don’t want them anymore.
And they drop them at the shelter.
Or just abandon them on the street corner.

/ / / / /

I’m looking at my guests.

The world needs more people like them.
Driving more than 1,300 miles to rescue a dog.
Because they believe all pets deserve a decent life.
Because they believe pets are family

I feel privileged to know them.
When I grow up I want to be just like them

Be kind
A kinder world starts with YOU

Pets are family

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Spring Fever. And a ‘stolen’ car

“I don’t wanna go back in the house.

This is MY car!
And I’m gonna make it my HOME.
Starting NOW!!”

This is my rambunctious little Flipper “talking.”

And fighting with all her might to stay in the car.

I know she loves her car rides but this is getting out of control.

Now she wants to live in the car

(Prolonged spring fever in my feathered-world.
She wants to build a nest; and the car seems the ‘perfect’ place to do it.)

I take her in the house and tell her:
“No! No more car rides today.”

Flipper is not taking NO for an answer.
She gets her wings up and begs.
When she doesn’t get the results she wants ( I don’t pick her up and take her to the car) she starts squawking at the top of her lungs.

When squawking doesn’t get results either then she gets down from her stand.

And walks to the door that leads to the garage.
I’m running to get her before she takes a chunk out of the door.
(She’s taken few bites already from the closet door in her room.
I don’t want her to ‘decorate’ the whole house with that beak of hers.)

I’m pretty sure I have the most demanding, and stubborn, little girl.
(At least Sunny is well behaved; one out of two ain’t bad, right?)

This has been going on for a few days now.

No more car rides.
But the begging has intensified.
And more trips (with me in hot pursuit) to the door.
She really wants to open that door.
Because she knows that’s the door that separates her from her beloved car.)

What’s a bird-mom to do?!

Get rid of the car.

So I close all the blinds on all the windows facing the street.

I take the car out.
And park it in the front of the house.

Then I go pick up Flipper.

And take her to the garage.
To an empty garage.

She looks around in disbelief.

“See” I told her, “someone took the car.
From now on we gonna ride the bike whenever we go places.”

Then I take her back in the house.

(Let’s hope she doesn’t call the police.
And reports a stolen car.)

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42 Hours

My friends tell me I’m a fixer. A protector.
(They also tell me I don’t know when to shut up.)
First-born traits, I suppose. I don’t know.  I just know that’s my “normal.”
This year, July 3rd, my normal was flipped upside down.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Early afternoon. I’m in my backyard with Sunny and Flipper.
They are both on a stand. Sunny starts squawking so I put him on the grass — like I’ve done many times before.
Next thing I see is Sunny up in the air, flying toward the fence. He flies above it.
And across two yards before landing in a nearby tree.

I start calling, “Sunny, come here Sweetheart.”
The tree is tall — like a three-story building.
Sunny is perched near the top.
He squawks — wanting me to pick him up…

I take Flipper in the house.
Then go back out.
But Sunny is no longer in the tree. I call him. No response.
I’m starting to get a sinking feeling in my stomach.

Go back in the house. Open laptop. Go to FB and type:

Need your help.
Sunny flew away!
If you see him please call.

I didn’t tag anyone.
(If you ever find yourself in this situation — I hope you don’t — TAG your friends. Don’t be an idiot like yours truly.)

Lucky idiot
Within a few minutes the first reply comes in, “My husband and I will be there in 10 minutes.”
Half an hour later, as the group grows larger, we form teams. And start walking the streets, looking for Sunny.
Neighbors’ kids get on their bikes and start canvassing the streets farther away.

Nothing.  Not a sign of him.
The “first responders” and I come back in my yard, where it all started.
And look again at that tall tree. We see Sunny!
He’s not squawking. Just staying there, near the top.

We go to that house.
A nice, elderly couple greets us. And take us to their backyard.
I’m calling Sunny to come down.
But he’s scared. And disoriented. He’s not moving.

It’s getting late. One of my friends calls the fire department.
When they arrive we talk for a few minutes.
Then the firemen get the ladders in place and start climbing.

They are half way up when Sunny moves to another branch. Away from the ladder. I stop the rescue operation. Sunny is going to fly away if we continue.
I thank the firemen.
And thank everyone else. There isn’t much to do except wait.

I went home. Five minutes later I was back with some food for him. But he wasn’t there anymore.
It’s dark now.
When I get home, I move the big cage out — in the middle of my backyard. Floodlight right on it.

So bright, it can be seen from a plane probably. Surely Sunny would be able to see it if he keeps flying around.

Finally the morning comes.
I take Flipper and go outside. I’m whistling and Flipper joins in.
A few minutes later we catch a glimpse of Sunny flying above the trees. Then he goes out of sight.

Hearing Flipper vocalize gave me an idea: make a recording — both of us whistling and calling Sunny.
Will play that recording when I’m out looking for him.

Half an hour later I’m knocking on doors. Telling people about Sunny.  And giving them my number — to call if they see him.
Everyone is helpful. And encouraging.

Later I’m joined by friends.
For the next several hours we walk the streets. Calling Sunny.
Nothing. No sign of him.

Early afternoon I go home to check on Flipper.
She is really quiet.
A knock at the door: my friend’s son.
We sat at the kitchen table, me with a sad little Flipper on my shoulder, and talk. Actually, he’s “analyzing” me.
(Talking about upside down normal — I’m usually the “analyst.”)

He asks a series of questions –to assess the situation. Then he tries to answers un-asked questions I might have.
As in, “only a small percentage of the food that Sunny may eat (while out flying) is actually toxic.
And birds know what they are.”  Good to hear that.

Twenty minutes later he leaves. He’ll be back later with his mom. And a speaker for my phone.
It will help with the recording — clarity and volume — reaching a wider area.

I go to update the post on FB. Support messages are pouring in.
All wishing Sunny to come back to the family before the evening celebration starts.
It’s the Fourth of July.
(Where I live, anyone can celebrate with fireworks, right in their own yard. It’s legal.)

Maybe all these well-wishes are coming true. I hear him!
I run outside — less than 30 yards away there is Sunny!
Top of the tree — squawking at me to get him down!
I jump and roll the bird stand in the middle of the street.
Two friends are blocking cars from entering our street.

Then it happens again. Sunny flies away…

The dark sets in.
The fireworks have started.
Sunny is out there. In the dark.
Scared every time fireworks light up the sky.
Scared by every explosion.

Morning. July fifth. I’m hoping. And I’m afraid.
Then I hear it. The familiar squawking.
Sunny is alive!
I take Flipper and put her on top of the cage in my backyard.
Sunny flies to us, landing by Flipper.
I take them both inside.
Home at last!

Sunny’s previous tree-hopping adventure was a little over 15 years ago.
That’s when he was rescued (from the hawks chasing him).
Over the years I trimmed his feathers — off and on. But he wasn’t interested in flying.
So I stop doing it. And look what happened!!!

Flipper’s wings are always trimmed. She’s a flyer.
(I found that out shortly after I rescued her. Will tell you that story some other time.)

We all make mistakes. In this case, my mistake almost cost Sunny his life.
And that’s the reason I’m writing this
(Trust me — it wasn’t easy; who wants to showcase their stupidity?!)
I’m hoping other bird-people reading this will learn from my mistake.
Trimmed wings will keep your feathered-friends safe.

Thank you for your help and your kindness
Those 42 hours  —  a humbling experience.
Friends. Neighbors. And all of you who reached out to me.
Your help and your kindness kept me afloat during those 42 hours.
Thank you

P.S. I need to go shopping for some earplugs for my friends (I’m back to normal : )

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Pizza, car rides, and other must-haves

Me: “What’s your favorite food?
Flipper: “Pizza, of course!”
Me: “What’s your favorite thing to do?”
Flipper: “Love going for car rides.”

If I would ask, that’s exactly how Flipper would answer those questions.
She feels all that, and more, it’s part of her inalienable Bill of Rights.

It’s a win/win
Dogs. Cats. Birds.
Our furry and feathered friends — their antics can be a source of endless entertainment.
(Or chagrin — like when Sunny “trimmed” my house plants.)
They are fun to have around. And, as shown by numerous studies, they help us lead healthier lives.
It’s a win/win situation.

Over the years I’ve been fortunate to meet people who taught me a lot about pet ownership.
Or, as some of them put it, they taught me about, “Pets’ Bill of Rights.”
Top three things I learned from them:

  1. Adopt. They are so many unwanted animals; adopting from a shelter is the best way to get a pet.
  2. Play time. Having a pet when you are hardly home it’s never a good idea. Being home alone for extended periods of time is not fair to anyone, including your pet.
  3. Food and safety — make sure you create a safe home environment. And provide nutritious food.

(Did you hear that Flipper? Pizza only on Sundays : )

Be kind to your pets — they are part of your family.
Treat them well.
Remember: your pets had no choice between you and freedom.

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Summer Friends

Over the summer Flipper and Sunny made several new friends.
In an earlier post I told you how much fun they had with Rio.
(If you missed it you can read it here.)
George, their new friend, is a feathered one.

(So I don’t have to worry about their dog-breath : )

This time we have different kind of issues.
George is an African Grey.
I was really curious to see how Flipper was going to react to him (she grew up with a Grey).
She didn’t disappoint. One minute she wanted to play with George. The other she was chasing him.
(In a typical Flipper fashion — she wanted to make sure he knows who’s the boss.)

Later on that day I was on the phone in the other room when I heard Sunny screaming at the top of his lungs.
I hurried back to see what’s going on.
Well, there seem to be a problem.
A BIG one.
Miss Flipper left Sunny by himself; and went to sit by George.

Sunny was broken hearted.
And furious.
And wanted the whole neighborhood to know all about it.

I quickly restored the “proper” order.

Then I made some popcorn.
Everyone is happy now.
Restoring peace — with a popcorn party.

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The two parrots with dog-breath

Making friends is not always easy.
Especially when they look different: four-legged and furry.
That’s what Flipper and Sunny found out when Rio came over to visit.
(I offered to take care of Rio’s while his family was out of town.)

I saw he was lonely so I brought him over to my place several times a day.
The first time was challenging —  I had to watch them closely.
There was a territorial dispute.






After a dog/bird standoff Rio realized he is no match for Flipper.
(See the fuzzy photo of Flipper chasing Rio’s tail.)





No one was harmed.
But a new pecking order emerged:
1) Flipper the Menace,
2) Rio, and
3) Sunny (he’s a sweetheart and doesn’t have a mean-feather on his body).








Rio went on to higher grounds: the couch.
Being on the couch was much safer than being on the floor, with Flipper the Menace in hot pursuit.

The second visit things were much friendlier.
This time there was no chasing. Rio knew to stay out of Flipper’s way while she and Sunny were eating his food.
Then Rio could eat peacefully while Flipper and Sunny were busy looking for something to “read.”




When everyone had enough socializing and playing I was getting ready to take Rio back to his home.
So I picked up Flipper and Sunny and put them on my shoulder to take them to their cages.

What was that smell?

Then I realized:  they’ve been eating dog food.
And now they had dog-breath!
For the rest of the week Sunny and Flipper kept sharing Rio’s food.
The two parrots with dog-breath.

Well, all it’s good as long as I don’t get confused and try to put Rio on my shoulder : )

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All fluffed up and ready for school

Kids are back in school.

Flipper and Sunny are at their “observation” point.

Waiting for the kids to pass by and say hello to them.

My little trouble-makers are all fluffed up and ready for the school year : )

And they seem to have favorites.

Today was a group of four; well, there was a dog with them so I should say a group of five.

(Parents often take the dog along when they go to pick up the kids from school.)

Looking at Flipper and Sunny — their reaction, and sounds they make — I’d say they are pretty happy school is back in session : )

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Two rays of sunshine

Over the weekend I picked a few apricots.
(Many thanks to my generous and sharing friends.)

When I got home, I placed the box with apricots on the floor.
I let Flipper and Sunny out.
Then went in the kitchen to get a glass of water.


I could hear vocalizing and little feet running on the floor:
my feathered-troublemakers in the hurry to get somewhere!
I don’t even have to look: I know they are running toward the apricots.
(If you were wondering: yes, it happened before!  With tomatoes.
Sunny’s beak poked 5-7 tomatoes before I caught and pulled him away
from his “tomato-tasting “job.)


This time they want to help sort the apricots.
(Well, Flipper supervises while Sunny is working : )

I’m looking at them: how beautiful they are.
Like rays of sunshine.

In a time when our world is so fragmented:
we all need more sunshine.

And this is your “prescription” for today:  two rays of sunshine.
(Noisy rays, for sure : )

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Flipper, the Unicorn

I hear a big commotion coming from my feathered-kids.
And I go to see what’s going on.

They are very busy!!!

They are dunking their feet in their water dish.
Flipping their wings and splashing water all over the place.

They want a bath.

I tell them,

“No! I’m busy!
It’s late in the afternoon!
And today it’s not even your bath day!!”

They respond by dunking their heads in the water.
More vocalizing.
And more water splashing.

Well, you can see who won: )


.june 2016 kids 030

Flipper (aka the Unicorn : )



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I don’t know who you are but I like you

Looking through my window I see a teenager and a black lab walking by.  They both stop so the lab can do some sniffing.

I’m glancing at them and turn around — busy with what I’m doing. But I thought my eyes registered something odd.

So I’m looking again. Yes, I did see something odd all right!!!

I see no smart phone in either hand.

What, a teenager without a smart phone?!

And there is more. He is petting the dog. And talking with him.

The dog looks so happy: going for a walk and getting all that attention.

Before they both got out of my sight I saw the teenager hugging the lab. And kissing the top of its head.

To the teenager:
You made my day! Thank you!
To the parents:
You did an outstanding job!
I don’t know who you are but I like you.

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