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My Budgie Bird [publisher's letter]

Publisher Tracy Patterson with her dog sitting in the desert resting up from a hike

Tracy Patterson

My mother was terrified of birds, having been chased by a rooster when she was young and impressionable, so when I came to her as a child with my request for a bird, the answer was a resounding no! I’m not sure how it even happened, but I somehow wore her down―she more likely just gave in to my incessant whining on the subject. And so Tweet, the blue budgie, came to live with us.

We bought Tweet from a pet store, and after reading the article on page 32, I realize that it would have been better to rescue a bird, but that was 50 years ago, and although there must have been bird rescues around, we knew absolutely nothing about birds or alternative possibilities of adopting one.

My budgie didn’t talk, but he was very friendly and brave―he pretty much had to be in a rambunctious home of dogs and cats and kids running in and out. He lived in my bedroom in a tall cage that sat on the floor. I would leave his door open sometimes, and he would come out and sit on the outside of his cage, with the bedroom door shut per my mother’s orders, in case he should decide to fly around.

I admit that I used a few scare tactics on my mother, like the time I chased her into the bathroom with Tweet, threatening to let him loose on her. She actually locked the bathroom door. It was all in fun, at least from my perspective—maybe not so much from hers!

Tweet really wasn’t into flying much. Even when a cat would periodically get into my bedroom and knock his cage over, he wouldn’t fly away from danger. So, although we were a family that kept animals for life, we decided it would be in Tweet’s best interest to give him to our cousins, who were also animal people but did not have any cats. Plus, I could visit him whenever I wanted.

It was a hard thing to do, but sometimes we have to look at what’s best for our pets, and the reality is that sometimes another home is what’s best. Looking back, getting a bird when we had up to five cats (strays) at any time, probably wasn’t the most intelligent decision, but it all worked out for the best, and Tweet lived to a ripe old age in a happy home.