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Sick as a parrot?

What other animals does your dog share his home with, and how well do they get along together? Ours cohabit with various other species, but have never had to put up with the situation I read about recently. One dog owner's parrot has learned to mimic her voice, to the point where he can give instructions to her dogs. The parrot in question lives with an Alsatian-Collie cross, and two Cairn Terriers. The poor dogs are fooled into responding when the bird calls them over to his cage. Although the bird praises them, he apparently hasn't so far managed to treat them for their obedience.

It sounds a fun place to live, with all those animals around. I love to watch animals interacting, and try to work out what's going on between them. The only dog and bird combination I've personally seen interacting belonged to my Aunt. She had a beautiful Bulldog, and just as beautiful a macaw. Both the animals were strong characters, and each clearly held the opinion that they were the alpha animal of the household.

The macaw was incredibly noisy, and would screech and squawk unbearably. When he was let out of his cage he would swoop onto whatever perch he fancied - usually some unsuspecting soul's head, shoulder or leg. Of course the dog was never allowed access to the bird, or vice versa, but they would often eye one another warily. The only time the dog could make contact with the bird was when his lovely long tail dangled down out of the bottom of the cage. The dog would lie and wait for this situation, and then move fast. This was the only time he did move fast, but with such a tantalizing prize on offer, he was like greased lightning.

He would shoot forward, grasp the macaw's tail between his teeth and give it a firm tug. Needless to say, the macaw would be very unhappy about being treated in such rude way, and he would protest vocally and loudly. The dog would retreat to the sofa, where his wide panting mouth resembled a cheeky, satisfied grin. The bird would smooth his ruffled feathers, literally! I have to say I think I would have had to get a shorter dog or a taller bird cage. Strangely the other dogs who lived alongside the bird - other Bulldogs, a Boxer, and a Basset Hound - never took to the tail pulling, and it's just as well.

Macaws have a long life span of course, and you'll probably be happy to know that the bird - having outlived all his canine housemates - is living happily in a sanctuary. He has other macaws for company, a large enclosure in which to spread his wings, and he is completely protected from any impudent, tail pulling dogs.

Take care,

Julie x

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