Heeerrree’s Johnny!


If you’ve read the story of our traumatic Monday, then you’re familiar with the loss of a dear family member, Jahmal. In the days since we took Dexter to the vet and recently called Birdie 911 for Jahmal, I’ve learned more about parakeets than I thought I would ever learn in my lifetime.

I’ve learned that:

~They also go by the term ‘Budgie’.

~They get incurable liver disease.

~You can’t 100% tell the gender of the bird without a $40 blood test (apparently they have no obvious differences, if you know what I mean ). Yeah, like I’m going to terrorize the human Engledows and the avian Engledows for that detail!

~You can make a reasonable assumption on the gender of the bird by looking at its beak. If there is blue across the “bridge of the nose” so-to-speak, then the bird is male. If that area is brown, it’s female.  The Bird Vet said that the beak test is not 100% accurate due to in-breeding and such, but it’s used as a reliable indicator of gender.

~Their beaks and claws grow like finger nails and need trimmed if they have incurable liver disease (otherwise, good grooming materials in the cage for healthy birds takes care of that problem).

~If they’re sick, they won’t display it until it’s critical and too late. It’s ‘Survival of the Fittest’ – the weakest birds get eaten in the wild (Where on the planet are there wild budgies? Rain Forest?). So, saving a sick bird seems highly unlikely given that info. When talking to the Bird Vet, I jokingly said, “So what would you have done for our bird? CPR?”. She answered in the affirmative – if it’s warranted, they’ll do it. I’m still trying to picture that one.

To help my Miss Maddie get over her sadness, we went to the pet store to get a new buddy for Dexter. They had yellow/green ones (we already had one like that!), so we went for the bluish ones. Since we were limited to males (why? Dexter is male and I don’t know nuthin’ about birthin’ no baby birdies!), we used the beak test to pick out likely candidates. There were really only two options (they had a lot of females!). There was a low-key one, just hanging out not bothering anyone and then there was this crazy one, picking on the girls, biting on others’ tails. Maddie opted for the low-key one considering that Dexter is sickly and on his way out. It wouldn’t be fair to choose a cage-mate that would literally torture him until his dying day.

Our newest addtion is adjusting to his new home nicely – he has started chirping (we were a little worried about his silence) and he and Dex seem to be buds now.

The picture in this post is of Dexter (flying off) and our new blue budgie, John.  John?

I said to Maddie, “You went from Jahmal to John?”

Maddie, “I like John.”

Well, that’s that! Welcome to the Engledow family, John!


It’s Raining Cats and Dogs (and Birds, Rats, etc.)

“The difference between friends and pets is that friends we allow into our company, pets we allow into our solitude.”  ~Robert Brault,

“Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.”  ~George Eliot

“There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.”  ~Ben Williams

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” ~Anatole France


Prior to 2005, I had three young children, a husband and a full-time+ job.  “Mom, can I have a [insert name of animal here] ? I promise I will take care of it.”  “NO.”    I played the part of the mean mom that wouldn’t let my children have pets and I played this part very well.  

Now, it’s the spring of 2005 (kids are 5, 8, & 11) and the kids and the hubby are starting to work me over for a dog.  I actually start considering it – what the hell is wrong with me?  Then, my husband makes a job change and due to a non-compete clause, he can’t work for 3 months.  Now, he’s starting to say things like, “This is the perfect time for us to get a dog.  I’ll be home and can get it trained, etc. Blah, blah…”  

(I do want to take a moment to point out that I am an animal lover.  Really. When I was young, I was always bringing home stray, unwanted animals (my parents are nodding their heads as they read this).  Really, it’s true.  So, what’s happened to me as an adult?  Adult, real life stuff I suppose.  At that time, we were rarely home – both of our jobs, the kids’ activities, etc.)

Back to the story:  so the hubby, sensing my inner turmoil, declares that we will get the kids a dog, damn it!  My requirements:  no more than 50 lbs and no shedding.  Ummm, okay that’s not too restrictive, right?  To make a long story short, Jasper was a sweet surprise for the kids and for about a week, we were The Best parents EVER!  As it turns out, he’s an 80 lb horse (a bit more than 50 lbs) with the sweetest personality and NO shedding.  Not a bad addition to the Engledow clan.

Apparently, Jasper was the chink in my armor and thus the sliding down the slippery slope had begun.  We added the fish last Christmas (Rachel’s wards) and the parakeets three days ago (Maddie’s wards).  Now, we just got the best news ever!

Jack (running into the house):  “Mommy, guess what?”

Me (with a little dread):   “What, honey?”

Jack:   “I’m getting a rat!  Only two kids wanted rats and no one else put their name in, so Mrs. Eberly made a decision today on who got the rats.”

Me:  (Oh, Shoot!)   “That’s great, buddy!  Which rat did you pick?”

Jack:   “Marshmallow.  Can I go get the cage for Marshmallow?”

We did not go rat cage shopping tonight because we are not getting Marshmallow until mid-December and I need time to absorb the news.  I also need time to reflect on what has happened to me and my resolve.  I’m turning into a namby-pamby.  Oh, help me…