If You Hate It Set It Free

parakeetsI really and truly have and do love all our pets–except for one. Our dogs are named family members and so have been our birds–namely parrots and parakeets.

Many years ago, our two younger sons acquired their very own parakeets at the same time. Eric nurtured his bird, played with it, taught it tricks and called it Puff–who went on to live 14 wonderful years. Mark-the-Younger at the age of 13 basically ignored his little bird in favor of girls, motorized scooters and the like. I would go into Mark’s room to clean the un-named bird’s cage or check on food and water levels– all while the bird squawked and flitted around the cage trying to avoid me. Sweet talk and my chirping did no good. This green parakeet wanted nothing to do with me or any other human. This bird was, at the least, psychotic.

Or so I had diagnosed it.

So what to do with an anti-social and apparently very angry bird? Is there a rescue shelter for parakeets?

I knew of no shelters, so plotted a plan of lesser evil one evening.

The next morning I spent at least 30 minutes chasing this little bird around the cage trying to capture it gently into my fist. At last I succeeded, suffered a few bites, and managed to get this green parakeet into a brown paper bag.

I quickly twisted the top shut, dropped it gently into my oversized handbag and jumped into the car. The bird was silent as I drove to the nearest PetSmart in Encinitas. I parked and walked like a normal shopper into the Big Box pet store. Feeling guilty, I sauntered over by the empty fish aisle, all the while keeping an eye out for cameras and security personnel. Seeing neither, l pulled out the brown paper bag and whispered a little prayer as I untwisted the bag, looking around one more time to see if anyone was looking–and set that little bird free. It immediately flew toward the ceiling as I stuffed the paper bag back into mine. I sauntered over to the dog food, glanced up at the ceiling and saw this little green bird flitting around. Someone would surely see it and assumed one of their parakeets had escaped from a cage..

Or so I imagined.

As soon as possible I exited the store. And breathed a big sigh of relief. This was a trip that resulted in a store ending up with excess inventory as a result of my visit. And is a story we still chuckle over occasionally. And I like to imagine that this little green parakeet found a home more suited to his or her hostile approach to the world.

And so I learned an important and alternative lesson in life: If you hate it, set it free.