Life P.P. – Pre Parrot

Written By: B.D. Butler - Jul• 19•13

tentWe had a BBQ last week and one of the guests asked me, “wow, sounds like parrots require a lot of work and especially time”.  “Yes, it is a lifetime commitment”, I said.  Then I had no real answer for what I was asked next, “what was your life like pre parrot?”.

Dexter actually taught me to give "kisses"

So for days I have thought about what my life was like before Dexter came into my life.  I must say that there is a certain freedom in your life when you have just “domesticated” pets (cats or dogs).  Dogs you can take with you or have someone watch them for you while you are gone.  If you are gone for a weekend, you can usually just fill up the cats food dish and water and they are pretty self-sufficient.  However, birds are a different story, at least for me.  animalsGreys, who are notorious for beginning plucking behavior when left alone.  Dexter and Cooper have always have come with us pretty much every time we have gone on vacation.  They travel extremely well and love going places, so we try to take them with us when we can.  If not, there was a house sitter to make sure they were taken care of.  I just don’t want to take the risk of leaving them completely alone for a weekend and coming home to a half plucked bird.  Sorry, I just won’t.

dexter.editWhat was our life before parrots?  Well I had only been dating my now husband for six months before I found Dexter that fateful day on Ebay Classifieds.  I told him on our first date, four years ago, all of the “big” dreams I had for myself. One of them happened to be owning an African Grey(s).  So he doesn’t necessarily know what “our” life was like before Dexter.

I know that this has caused a problem with our travel plans, but like I have always said, “my birds didn’t knock on my door and ask to live with me”, I chose them and with that made the commitment to make sure they are happy and healthy.  Now before you think, “wow get a life” the birds are fine for several hours, there is always someone to cover them at night and uncover them in the am.  I believe it gives them a sense of security, something they didn’t always have in their homes before.

birdsThe coat closet used to have a lot more room.  Now there are bins with toys, toy parts, perches, and perches.  The Poquito travel cages are stored in there too.  They don’t fold down like the larger travel cages, oh wait those are in behind the Poquito cages.  So the “coat” closet is more of a bird closet with some coats in the corner.  Hey, sometimes you just have to make due. know that I was always on the go, not really staying home very often.  BBQ’s, concerts, and cocktail hour were a lot more frequent, because I didn’t have a reason to head home and I didn’t have to worry about covering a bird. I was also much more spontaneous, not that I am not that person now, I just have a little more planning when I decide to be spontaneous.  That kind of defeats the purpose now I suppose, doesn’t it?

me.ferryChemical cleaners were a huge part of my household, I used to love the smell of bleach.  Having been a medic I used to equate bleach with clean and germ free.  Now, not so much.  The smell gives me a headache and I don’t like my birds to inhale something so poisonous and corrosive to their lungs.  We used a lot of aerosols too.  Non-Stick cooking spray, hairspray, wood cleaner, window cleaner, air fresheners… the list goes on and on.  Actually reading this makes me kind of feel bad about the carbon footprint that my household was leaving behind.  I never thought about things like this before or took into consideration the things we were inhaling, let alone what our animals were inhaling.

The house always smelled so good, because I had Febreeze Noticeables or plugins everywhere.  Ah, the smell of the Meadows and Rain when you walked in the door.  I can still get a little whiff of it from time to time.  Maybe like a phantom smell from pre parrot life.

photo (11)We used to have a dining room, it was a very cute, great marble top pub style table with very comfortable chairs.  I think that is what I miss the most.  Having somewhere to have my morning coffee and check my morning emails or sit and listen to a quiet house after everyone went to bed.  I truly felt like a grown-up.  Now the dining room has two parrot cages, UV lamps, and plants.

Air purifiers, everywhere!  We have air purifiers in just about every room in the house.  They keep the dander, which greys are notorious for producing, and the air quality good.  Some day I will have my Austin Air or Rabbit Air that will take care of the whole house with one unit.  Wow, five years ago, if you told me I would be dreaming of air purifiers I would have to you to get bent.

I remember having more money.  Birds are expensive and keeping them in vet care, food, veggies and toys can get costly.  However once you get the hang of it and figure out how to trim the fat, recycle toys and get their feeding regiments down, it actually isn’t too terrible.  It reminds me of setting up a salt water tank, the beginning is a pain, the money spent getting the water balanced and all the coral you have to buy.  But when it’s balanced and gets up and running…. it’s a beautiful sight.  That’s what like owning a bird is like.

jarsWhere frozen pizza used to be, the freezer is now full of “chop” and a steady supply of frozen lentils, flax-seed, hemp seed and quinoa. The credenza has decorative items, including an assortment of nuts, dehydrated bananas,  and pumpkin seed all in air tight pretty jars.  Before the birds I didn’t even have containers for spaghetti or cereal.  In fact I ate like crap.  I didn’t really pay attention to what kinds of foods I was putting in my body.  I unfortunately was the product of the “preservative generation” where everything that was fed to you could be prepared in three minutes or stored on shelves for years.  Because of parrot nutrition I am on a healthier path.

birdsEnd thoughts on my life pre parrot?  That’s pretty easy, clearly before I had parrots I had no idea of my environment or what I was bringing into my home or body.  I didn’t think about the carbon foot print that I was leaving behind, or the impact on the environment as a whole.  I was such a “now” person, very similar to Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka, no patience (which I still struggle with) and very “me” oriented.  Parrots helped ground me (along with a very patient husband named Eric) and take a look at my life.  I remember Cesar Milan said in one of his episodes “a dog’s behavior is usually a sign of the environment they are living in” and I believe that is true.  If you are unbalanced then your whole environment is going to reflect it.  My parrots helped me balance my life and see beyond today or tomorrow.  They helped me become a planner and learn to be responsible for someone or something other than myself.

So I guess I just answered the question “what was your life like pre parrot”.

Not even close to as good as it is now.


Copyright 2013 – Parrot Earth – Life P.P. – Pre Parrot



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  1. Sharee Bullard says:

    I totally agree with u!! We eat way more healthy meals and clean with more healthy cleaners! I get up every morning and make breakfast for 2 wonderful birds who say”love u!” and give kisses all day long. It is a lot of work, but so worth it!! Thanks for making me think about such things!

    • B.D. Butler says:

      Thanks for reading Sharee!! Sometimes it great to reflect and see how something like owning parrots, can affect your life in positive ways. I wouldn’t trade my birds for anything!

  2. Janet says:

    I love this, and it is so true! Our birds make us aware, more kind to animals, more sensitive to the needs of the creatures with whom we share this world, especially prey animals. It has made us gentler to and more receptive to the plights of parrots in sanctuaries and rescues. And once I figured out ways to live without the Teflon, air fresheners, harmful chemicals and mirrors on the walls… i found I didn’t really miss them at all. They’d been replaced with other, more environmentally sensitive products and a sense of appreciation that the birds helped improve my life too. Your greys are lucky birds! Thanks for sharing!

  3. I enjoyed your article. I believe my two greys have also improved my life and the way I live it. I am still trying to work out the traveling. I just don’t go, my family are getting a little upset about that. But will figure it out eventually. I don’t want to board them or leave them.

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