I grew up as a dog person. As a kid I usually had a dog in my life. Cats have passed through my life as well.

In September of 1980 I met the man I was meant to spend my life with. With him came his entire family. Again, there were cats and dogs. There were birds as well.

My husband’s family had worked in Nigeria for a number of years in the late 1970’s. While they were there several African Gray parrots were given to them. Six parrots ultimately came home with them. Two of them have touched me the most.

African Gray parrots have the intelligence and reasoning power of between a 2 and 5 year old human child. Having one in a household is like having a child that never grows up. They can be quite a handful but every day with them is so special.

Calabar is my feathered child. He came to me with my wedding ring. I see him as my child. He sees me as his wife. He is 32 years old and is with me almost all the time. I own a needlework shop and he is so much a part of it we are claiming 55% of his expenses as business expenses.

Echo was 25 when we lost him. He came to live with us when Altzimers touched our family. He was no longer safe in the household he had grown up in. When we lost my husband’s grandfather we still had a little bit of him through Echo. He would say many (appropriate) things in Pop’s voice.

He was so sweet and kind due in some part to the household he spent most of his life in, a very gentle, sweet and kind deep south home. The first night he was with us he stated, “Echo wants ice cream. STRAWBERRY ice cream.” He got it after his new “dad” got up and went to the store.

One morning we went out the sun room to feed our two feathered family members and play with them. Echo was on the bottom of his cage. He died of undiagnosed liver disease and an infection both of them picked up.

When we lost Echo we lost a child. We lost the little bit of Pop we had left. Calabar lost a brother. We had him cremated and he is still in the sun room with Calabar.

His loss was especially hard on my husband. Birds, like cats, choose who they bond to. Calabar has always bonded to someone in the home other than my husband. He is bonded to me. I stayed back and Echo bonded with my husband. It was an especially tight and close bond. When we lost Echo, we lost a very precious, sweet and lovable child that can never be replaced.


Mary from GA