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Thursday, March 27, 2008
From The Bird Cage to the Dog House

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

Tampa Bay, a mischevious puppy
Tampa Bay, Melissa's new puppy. 
Sprey and Tampa play together in the sand
Sprey and Tampa Bay at the beach.

My eyes are burning and my mind is in first gear; I am so tired. No, it’s not because of Daylight Saving Time, although that has certainly contributed. It is the new puppy. My husband and I had been going back and forth about getting another dog and, like most things, the new puppy came into our life quickly and not as planned as I would have like it. The first two weeks have been tough. I keep finding myself saying to people, if this was a bird I would know what to do. So I gathered all the reading material and went through it (the puppy has also chewed it all). I keep finding my situation not exactly like what the books say or I don’t agree with the book recommendations or the recommendations just don’t seem realistic with the time crunch I have. And it made me think, this is just what it was like when I first got birds. Only, there wasn’t that much reading material available and I had to talk to a variety of people to get my baring. It is so strange to be at first base again in regard to pet ownership.

We ended up getting a puppy because we wanted to teach it to get along with the birds, the guinea pig and our other dog from an early age. My husband won the coin toss and named the puppy after his favorite football team, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I refuse to call the puppy Bucc, so its name is Tampa Bay. It was the sweetest, most affectionate and cuddly puppy – until we discovered it had Giardia. Now that it is feeling better it has become a Tasmanian Devil. While I was in the bird room the other day, it kept sitting in front of Carlisle’s cage, wagging its tale and trying to sniff Carlisle through the cage bars (the door to Carlisle’s cage was partly ajar). Carlisle – never one to back down – kept eating from his food dish, stopping to occasionally hiss at the puppy when it came too close to the cage bars. I was sitting beside the cage and keeping a close eye out. I was hoping Carlisle would peck the puppy on the nose, but he was too into eating. I finally made the puppy back off and then I put Carlisle up on the playpen at the top of the cage. Tampa Bay took the opportunity to grab the cuttlebone out of Carlisle’s cage and dashed off with it. I really don’t know that a cuttlebone is an appropriate chew toy for a puppy, but I would imagine it would be fun to chew up! 

So why are my birds easier than the puppy?

  • The birds make a mess in one place
  • The birds don’t wake me up in the middle of the night wanting to play
  • The birds’ poop doesn’t have the same pungency
  • The birds chew everything, but don’t consider my body as a chew toy
  • The birds leave my guinea pig and older dog alone
  • The birds don’t need so many vaccinations that I live at the vet
  • The birds don’t pee when they are excited

People always say dogs are easier than birds. Who are these people, I ask?

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From The Bird Cage to the Dog House

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Reader Comments
I have had dogs for many years but am relatively new to birds. I am slowly learning about birds. I also foster puppies for a rescue in my area. It's always fun to see what the new dog thinks of the birds. My Lovebird has no problem biting the dog on the nose if he or she gets too nosy. :)
Rev. Claudia, Dearborn Heights, MI
Posted: 12/8/2008 4:12:36 AM
I was born a dog lover so taking care of a puppy would be like taking a nap for me. on the other hand my cockatile is a handfull! I have my dog sach for support when I have no idea what to do will my bird willow!
buttons, santa cruz, CA
Posted: 4/30/2008 3:53:23 PM
Dear Melissa - please don't give up! I've had dogs and birds all my life, and the last puppy I got was into everything, chewed everything - he was a bouncy punkin head lab! I couldn't remember a puppy being SO much trouble!!! But, as time goes on, I realize that all my pups were the same way, and after almost a year (a troublesome year with him at that) has gone by he's starting to sorta settle down. He's really good about my birds, but I had to watch him and teach him constantly (which is why you're tired!) But it was all worth it, and you'll see that ,too. We just don't remember the trouble puppies can get into.
Kristine, Wilmington, OH
Posted: 4/18/2008 4:16:37 PM
Good luck with your new puppy! A cuttlebone doesn't sound too tasty to me, but it does sound messy!
R, S, CA
Posted: 3/30/2008 3:45:28 PM
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