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Monday, March 03, 2008
Who Let the Dog Out?

By Melissa L. Kauffman, Editorial Director BIRD TALK and BirdChannel.com
Share in the adventures of Melissa Kauffman's experiences in bird ownership in Life in the Bird House

Late last night I got a knock on the door at home. My company's marketing manager, Lisa MacDonald, was in the area with her son and they found a Husky running around in the street. The poor baby didn't have a collar (wasn't microchipped either we later found out), hadn't eaten in awhile (its ribs were visible), but was obviously quite tame. We have no idea how it came to be living on the streets of the OC (Orange County).

With the housing market in a slump and people losing their homes, we hear alarming stories of people surrendering their pets to shelters as they have to move into apartments that don't allow pets. Worse yet, we also hear of people just dumping their pets as they move. Or, this dog could just have wandered away from home. Whatever the reason, here was another pet that needed a home. My husband and I have been considering getting another dog, as our dog Sprey is 12 and we can't bear to think of losing her. Sprey has also been checking out every dog lately wanting to hang out, so we think she might enjoy another companion. Obviously, she may also hate the idea, so there is a lot to consider.

One of the other biggest points to consider is the birds and the piggie (my guinea pig). No dog, and I repeat, no dog should ever be left around your birds without supervision. It is a tragedy waiting to happen. That being said, some dogs are more trustworthy than others. I've been fortunate. I've had an Irish Setter that loved the cockatiels, and I have Sprey, a mixed breed with some greyhound and shepherd, who has no interest in them whatsoever. In fact, she goes out of her way to avoid them, except when they drop food. Now an Irish setter is a hunting breed, known as a bird dog. A greyhound is also not a dog bred to stay away from birds and small, furry creatures. So based on the breed, I'd definitely say don't put those dogs around the birds.

However, just like all cockatiels aren't sweet and all conures aren't screamers, you really need to know that particular dog. Obviously our dogs didn't fit the mold and we never had problems with them and the birds. So when Scott and I do adopt another dog, that will be the factor above all others – how they behave around the birds and the piggie. This will be a challenge, because we won't know until the dog lives here. I'm curious to how any other people have handled the new dog with the birds’ situation. I'd love to hear your comments.

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Reader Comments
My partner and I adopted a husky border collie x in the spring time. We put up baby gates when the 5 fids were eating in the kitchen so he couldn't get in. Bryan kept saying we need to get them used to one another so the next step was to have the dog on the leash on bryan's lap on the couch watching a movie as a family while the birds were on us. Step by step the dog has become used to the birds and my blue parrotlet and the dog and completely in love with one another now.
Baby steps....
Rosemary, Edmonton
Posted: 6/26/2009 2:53:01 PM
This husky is lucky that you found him!Good luck finding another dog.
R, S, CA
Posted: 3/15/2008 12:00:40 PM
This was a great article (in my oppinion) because I love both animals: dogs and birds! And my most favorite dog would just happen to be the greyhound! I'm very interested as to what your dog (Sprey) looks like. A shepherd and greyhound mix sounds like a very cute dog! By the way, I love the name "Sprey!" Very cute and perfect for any dog! I hope that the stray husky finds a warm and safe home! It would be wonderful if you could provide him a home (if he doesn't find another home that is! Or if no one claims him.). Thanks for the great article! I always love to read them! Thanks!
Natalie, Portland, OR
Posted: 3/10/2008 8:07:29 PM
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